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Full text of "Jap Herron; a novel written from the ouija board; with an introduction, The coming of Jap Herron"

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3 1822 01122 4193 




3 1822 01122 4193 














ON the afternoon of the second Thursday in March, 
1915, I responded to an invitation to the regular meet 
ing of a small psychical research society. There was 
to be a lecture on cosmic relations, and the hostess 
for the afternoon, whom I had met twice socially, 
thought I might be interested, my name having ap 
peared in connection with a recently detailed series of 
psychic experiments. To all those present, with the 
exception of the hostess, I was a total stranger. I 
learned, with some surprise, that these men and women 
had been meeting, with an occasional break of a few 
months, for more than five years. The record of these 
meetings filled several type-written volumes. 

When word came that the lecturer was unavoidably 
detained, the hostess requested Mrs. Lola V. Hays to 
entertain the members and guests by a demonstration 
of her ability to transmit spirit messages by means of 
a planchette and a lettered board. The apparatus was 
familiar to me ; but the outcome of that afternoon s 
experience revealed a new use for the transmission 



board. After several messages, more or less personal, 
had been spelled out, the pointer of the planchette 
traced the words: 

"Samuel L. Clemens, lazy Sam." There was a long 
pause, and then: "Well, why don t some of you say 

I was born in Hannibal, and my pulses quickened. 
I wanted to put a host of questions to the greatest 
humorist and the greatest philosopher of modern times ; 
but I was an outsider, unacquainted with the usages 
of the club, and I remained silent while the planchette 
continued : 

"Say, folks, don t knock my memoirs too hard. They 
were written when Mark Twain was dead to all sense 
of decency. When brains are soft, the method should 
be anaesthesia." 

Not one of those present had read Mark Twain s 
memoirs, and the plaint fell upon barren soil. The 
arrival of the lecturer prevented further confession 
from the unseen communicant; but I was so deeply 
impressed that I begged my hostess to permit me to 
come again. For my benefit a meeting was arranged at 
which there was no lecturer, and I was asked to sit for 
the first time with Mrs. Hays. 

In my former psychic investigation, it had been my 
habit to pronounce the letters as the pointer of the 
planchette indicated them, and Mrs. Hays urged me to 
render the same service when I sat with her, because 


she never permitted herself to look at the board, fear 
ing that her own mind would interfere with the trans 
mission. Scarcely had our finger-tips touched the 
planchette when it darted to the letters which spelled 
the words : 

"I tried to write a romance once, and the little wife 
laughed at it. I still think it is good stuff and I want 
it written. The plot is simple. You d best skeletonize 
the plot. Solly Jenks, Hiram Wall young men. 
Time, before the Civil War." 

Then the outline of a typical Mark Twain story 
came in short, explosive sentences. It was entitled, 
"Up the Furrow to Fortune." A brief account of its 
coming seems vital to the more sustained work which 
was destined to follow it. I was not present at the next 
regular meeting of the society; but at its close I was 
summoned to the telephone and informed that Mark 
Twain had come again and had said that "the Han 
nibal girl" was the one for whom he and Mrs. Hays 
had been waiting. When they asked him what he 
meant, the planchette made reply : 

"Consult your record for 1911." 

One of the early volumes of the society s record was 
brought forth, and a curious fact that all the members 
of the society had forgotten was unearthed. About a 
year after his passing out, Mr. Clemens had told Mrs. 
Hays that he had carried with him much valuable 
literary material which he yearned to send back, and 


that he would transmit stories through her, if she 
could find just the right person to sit with her at 
the transmission board. Although she experimented 
with each member of the club, and with several of her 
friends who were sympathetic though not avowed in 
vestigators, he was not satisfied with any of them. 
Then she gave up the attempt and dismissed it from 
her mind. A twenty-minute test with me seemed to con 
vince him that in me he had found the negative side of 
the mysterious human mechanism for which he had 
been waiting. 

The work of transmitting that first story was at 
tended with the greatest difficulty. No less than three 
distinct styles of diction, accompanied by correspond 
ingly distinct motion in the planchette under our fin 
gers, were thrust into the record. At first we were at 
a loss to understand these intrusions. That they were 
intrusions there could be no doubt. In each case 
there was a sharp deviation from the plot of the story, 
as it had been given to us in the synopsis. After one 
of these experiences, which resulted in the introduction 
of a paragraph that was rather clever but not at all 
pertinent, Mark regained control with the impatiently 
traced words: 

"Every scribe here wants a pencil on earth." 
Not until the middle of summer did we achieve that 
sureness of touch which now enables us to recognize, 
intuitively, the presence of the one scribe whose 


thoughts we are eager to transmit. That the story 
of Jap Herron and the two short stories which pre 
ceded it are the actual post-mortem work of Samuel 
L. Clemens, known to the world as Mark Twain, we 
do not for one moment doubt. His individuality has 
been revealed to us in ways which could leave no ques 
tion in our minds. The little, intimate touches which 
reveal personality are really of more importance than 
the larger and more conspicuous fact that neither Mrs. 
Hays nor I could have written the fiction that has come 
across our transmission board. Our literary output is 
well known, and not even the severest psychological 
skeptic could assert that it bears any resemblance to 
the literary style of "Jap Herron." 

Mrs. Hays has found the best market for her short 
stories with one of the large religious publishing houses, 
and in the early days Mark Twain seemed to fear 
that her subconscious mind might inadvertently color 
or distort his thought, in process of transmission. We 
had come to the end of our fourth session when he 
added this : 

"There will be minor errors that you will be able to 
take care of. I don t object. Only don t try to cor 
rect my grammar. I know what I want to say. And, 
dear ladies, when I say d-a-m-n, please don t write 
d-a-r-n. Don t try to smooth it out. This is not a 
smooth story." 

That Mark should fear the blue pencil, at our hands, 


amused us greatly. The story bristles with profanity 
and is roughly picturesque in its diction. It deals with 
a section of the Ozark country with which neither of 
us is familiar, and in the speech of the natives there 
are words that we had never heard, that are included 
in no dictionary but are, it transpires, perfectly fa 
miliar to the primitive people in the southwestern part 
of the state. When the revision of the story was al 
most complete, Mark interrupted the dictation, one 
afternoon, to remark: 

"You are too tired. Forces must be strong for re 
sults. Somebody handed you a lemon, back there. Cut 
out that part about the apple at fly time. I am not 
carping. You have done well. The interpretation is 
excellent. I was afraid of femininity. Women have 
their ideas, but this is not a woman s story. Good- 

There was another meeting, at which the revision of 
"Up the Furrow to Fortune" was completed, and then 
we went to work on the second story, "A Daughter 
of Mars." As in the case of the first one, it began with 
a partial synopsis. Vallon Leithe, an enthusiastic 
aeronaut, was resting after a long flight, when a 
strange air-craft fell out of the sky, lodging in the 
top of a great tree. The occupant of the marvelously 
constructed flying machine proved to be a girl from the 
planet Mars. Her name was Ulethe, and she had many 


thrilling adventures on our earth. The synopsis ended 
with the wholly unexpected words: 

"Now, girls, it is not yet clear in my mind whether 
we d better send Ulethe back to Mars, kill her, marry 
her to Leithe, or have an expedition from Mars raise 
the dickens. But we will let it develop itself." 

The board, on which two short stories and a novel 
have already been transmitted, is one of the ordinary 
varieties, a polished surface over which the planchette 
glides to indicate the letters of the alphabet and the 
figures from 1 to 10. In the main our dictation came 
without any apparent need for marks of punctuation. 
Occasionally the words "quotation marks," or "Put 
that in quotes" would be interjected. Once when my 
intonation, as I pronounced the words for the amanuen 
sis who was keeping our record, seemed to indicate a 
direct statement, the planchette whirled under our 
fingers and traced the crisp statement, "I meant that 
for a question." 

When I told my husband of these grippingly intimate 
evidences of an unseen personality, it occurred to him 
that a complete set of punctuation marks, carefully 
applied in India ink, where the pointer of the planchette 
could pick them out as they were required, would facili 
tate the transmission of sustained narrative. To him 
it seemed that the absence of these marks on the board 
must be maddening, especially to Mark Twain, whose 
thought could be hopelessly distorted by the omission 


of so trivial a thing as a comma, and whose subtle 
use of the colon was known to all the clan of printers. 
Before our next meeting the board had been duly 
adorned with ten of the most important marks, includ 
ing the hyphen and the M-dash. The comma was at 
the head of the right-hand column and the apostrophe 
at the bottom. My husband, Mrs. Hays and I knew 
exactly what all these markings meant, yet we had some 
confusion because Mark insisted on using the comma 
when he wished to indicate a possessive case. The sen 
tence was this, as I understood it : 

"I was not wont to disobey my father, scommand." 

Instantly my husband, who had become interested 
and had taken the place of our first amanuensis, per 
ceived that I had made a mistake, when I pronounced 
the combination, "f-a-t-h-e-r, comma, s-c-o-m-m-a-n-d." 

"But," I defended myself, "the pointer went to the 
comma. I can see now that it should have been the 
apostrophe." As I spoke the pointer of the planchette 
traced the words on the board: 

"Edwin did a pretty piece of work, but that apos 
trophe is too far down. I am in danger of falling off 
the board every time I make a run for it." 

The result was that another apostrophe was placed 
in the middle of the board, directly under the letter S. 
In connection with the M-dash we had a yet more start 
ling evidence of an outside personality, one dependent 
on us for his means of communication, but wholly in- 


dependent of our thought and knowledge. Mark had 
dictated the synopsis for the second story and had en 
larged upon the first situation. Then, as has since be 
come his fixed habit, he indicated that the serious work 
for the evening was ended, and returned for an informal 
chat. Mrs. Hays and I had discussed the plot at 
some length, and after my husband had read aloud 
the second evening s dictation we commented on some 
of the obscure points, our fingers resting, the while, 
lightly on the planchette. Suddenly it became agitated, 
assumed a vigorous sweeping motion and traced very 
rapidly these words : 

"It is starting good; but will you two ladies stop 
speculating? I am going to take care of this story. 
Don t try to dictate. You art interrupting the thread 
of the story. There is ample time for smoothing the 
rough places. I am not caviling. I am well pleased." 
After a pause, he continued : "There is the same class 
of interruption those who could write stories, but are 

not to write my ; At this, the planchette turned 

to the M-dash and slid back and forth under it several 
times. It then spelled the word "stories." We were 
utterly at a loss, until he explained: "I was using 
that black line for an underscore." 

Again and again we have had the word "good" in an 
adverbial construction, a usage that is not common to 
either Mrs. Hays or me ; but Mark has told us that he 
liked it, in familiar conversation. We have tried to 


adhere with absolute fidelity to even the seeming errors 
which came over the board. 

The second installment of the story gave all of us 
much trouble. Incidentally it served to develop several 
bits of humorous conversation. When it was finished, 
we received this comment: 

"I think that is all we can do to-night. I intend to 
enlarge upon this chapter before going further. The 
forces are not strong enough to-night. We will re 
write this part Monday night." 

We naturally expected a rehandling of that install 
ment, which for convenience he had designated a "chap 
ter." To our surprise, the pointer of the planchette 
gave this : 

"I have changed my mind. We will proceed to New 
York. I will probably want to handle chapter second 
in a different way. It reads like a printed porous 
plaster ; but that is no one s fault. Begin !" 

The dictation went smoothly, and there were no in 
terruptions from the unseen rivals who had so per 
sistently contested Mark Twain s right to the exclu 
sive use of our "pencil." Before the next meeting I 
was urged to take a prominent part in another piece 
of psychic work, and to persuade both my husband 
and Mrs. Hays to join me. I said nothing to either 
one of them about it, intending to discuss it with them 
when the evening s work was over. As soon, however, 


as we applied our finger tips to the planchette, this 
astonishing communication came: 

"I am afraid that my pencil-holders are going to get 
wound up in other stuff that will make much confusion. 
I heard Emily talking over the telephone and making 
promises that are not good for our work." 

When I had been questioned concerning the meaning 
of this rebuke, and had explained its import, Mark 
added: "If we are going to make good there must be 
concentration, to that end. Get busy." We did! It 
was a hot July night, and the planchette flew over 
the board so swiftly that at times I could scarcely keep 
pace with it as I pronounced the letters. With other 
amanuenses I had been forced to pronounce the fin 
ished words, and to repeat sentences in whole or in 
part; but after my husband came into the work this 
was not necessary. As much as a score of letters might 
be run together, to be divided into words after the 
dictation was ended. Sometimes, when I had failed 
utterly to catch the thought, and would hesitate or 
ask to have the thing repeated, my husband would say 
to me: "Don t stop him. I know what it means." 
Mrs. Hays avoided looking at the board lest her own 
mind interfere with the transmission, and with less 
efficient help, the entire responsibility had been on me. 
When I came to realize that nothing was expected of 
me beyond the mere pronouncing of the letters, the 
three of us developed swiftly into a smoothly working 


machine. Yet Mark was constantly worried for fear 
that my heart would be alienated and that I would "go 
chasing after strange gods," as he once put it. 

When he had finished the fifth installment of the 
story, with a climax that surprised and puzzled us, he 

"I reckon we had better lay by for a few days till 
I get this thing riffled out. It has slipped its tether. 
I have had such things happen often. Don t get 

We discussed the use of the word "riffle," and then 
Mark became serious. 

"I don t want to be disappointed in the Hannibal 
girl. I have been trying for several years to get 
through to the light. I don t want a false sentiment 
for a crew of fanatics to wreck my chance. I don t 
want to act nasty, but if you go into that other work 
I am likely to ruin your reputation. You are likely 
to explode into some of the mediocre piffle that is the 
height and depth of such would-be communications with 
the other world. There is nothing to hold to. So, my 
dear girls, if you want a future, cut it out. I don t 
want to command all your time, but right now it is 
best to avoid all complications." 

It is needless to say I declined the invitation. After 
this, whenever anything went wrong, the rebuke or com 
plaint was invariably addressed to me. When there 
were humorous or pleasant things to be said, they were 


dispensed equally to the three of us, whom Mark Twain 
had come to designate as "my office force." Two bits 
of personal communication came within the succeeding 
week which seem to have a bearing on the whole mys 
terious experience. That second installment was 
undertaken and abandoned again and again. Finally 
he said: 

"I am going ahead with the main body of the story. 
There will be another round with that second chapter, 
but not until the theme is fully developed. The second 
chapter sticks in my throat like the cockleburr that I 
tried to swallow when I was five. It won t slip down 
or come up." 

We had worked patiently on the latter part of the 
narrative and had accomplished a big evening s work, 
when the dictation was interrupted by this remark: 

"It is going good ; but I sure wish that I had Edwin s 

We fairly gasped with astonishment; but we had 
no time for comment, as the planchette continued its 
amazing revelation: 

"Smoke up, old man, for auld lang syne. In the 
other world they don t know Walter Raleigh s weed, 
and I have not found Walter yet to make complaint. 
I forget about it till I get Edwin s smoke. But for 
pity s sake, Ed, cut out that tobacco you were trying 
out. It made me sick. I hoped it would get you, so 
that you wouldn t try it again." 


My husband, whom neither Mrs. Hays nor I would, 
under any circumstances, address by the abbreviation 
of his name, "Ed," asked Mark what tobacco he had in 
mind. He replied: 

"That packet you were substituting, or that some 
one that had a grudge against you gave you." 

A comparison of dates revealed the fact that on the 
evening when that troublesome second installment was 
transmitted, my husband had smoked some heavy im 
ported tobacco that had been given to him by a friend 
he had met that afternoon. The circumstance had 
passed from the minds of all of us. Indeed, it had never 
impressed us in the least, and it had not occurred to 
any of us that our unseen visitor still retained the 
sense of smell, or that he could distinguish between two 
brands of tobacco. He had given evidence of both sight 
and hearing, had told us frequently that he was tired, 
at the end of a long evening s work, and had made other 
incidental revelations of his environment and condition: 
but his reference to the pipe was more significant than 
any of them. 

Early in August, when our second story was nearing 
completion, the transmission began with this curious 
bit, which none of us understood for a long time: 

"Emily, I think that when we finish this story we will 
do a pastoral of Missouri. There appear high lights 
and shadows, purple and dark, and the misty pink of 
dawnings that make world-weary ones have surcease." 


Not until "Jap Herron" was more than half finished 
did we realize that it was the Missouri pastoral. There 
was one other veiled reference to that story which must 
not be omitted. We had planned a trip to New York, 
for some time in October or early November, although 
we had never discussed it while at the board. One 
evening Mark terminated his dictation abruptly, and 

"Emily, I think well of your plan." I asked what 
plan he referred to. "New York. I will go, too. I 
will try to convince them that I am not done working. 
I am rejuvenated and want to finish my work. When 
I was in New York last I had a very beautiful dream. 
I did not understand it then. It meant that my days 
were numbered, and gave me the picture of an angel 
bringing a book from heaven to earth, and on its cover 
was blazoned this : MARK TWAIN S COMPLIMENTS. Ask 
them what they think about that. I was so tired so 
tired that I could not rest. A cool hand seemed to 
soothe my weariness away and I slept, and, sleeping, 

When I found that passage in the early part of our 
record, I wondered if "Jap Herron" might be the book 
sent to earth with Mark Twain s compliments. I asked 
him about it, one evening when our regular dictation 
had been finished. The reply was a slow journey of the 
planchette to the word, "Yes," followed by the rapidly 
spelled words, "But old Mark isn t done talking yet." 


We assumed that he had something further to say to 
us, and when I asked him what he wanted to talk about, 
he gave this tantalizing reply: 

"Curious? Wait and see." Then, after a pause, "I 
shall have other work for my office force." 

The explanation of this cryptic statement was not 
given until we had completed the final revision of the 
story. Before I reveal what he had in mind, I wish 
to state that which is to me the most convincing proof 
of the supernormal origin of the three stories that had 
been traced, letter by letter, on our transmission board. 
That they come through Mrs. Hays, there can be no 
doubt whatever. My total lack of psychic power has 
been abundantly demonstrated. Mrs. Hays has written 
much light fiction; but it is necessary for her to write 
a story at one sitting. If it does not come "all in one 
piece" it is foredoomed to failure. I know nothing of 
Mark Twain s habits ; but in all the work we have done 
for him, the first draft has been rough and vigorous, 
and sweeping changes have been made by him while the 
work was undergoing revision. In the case of "Jap 
Herron" some of the most important changes were 
made without a rereading of the story, changes that 
involved incidents which we had forgotten, and for 
which I was compelled to search the original record. 
When I had substituted these passages for the ones they 
were to supplant, I made a typewritten copy of the 
entire story and we read it aloud to Mark. Mrs. Hays 


and I sat with our finger tips on the planchette so 
that he could interrupt ; but he made only a few minor 
corrections. The story had been virtually rewritten 
twice, although a few of the chapters, as they now 
stand, are exactly as they were transmitted, not so 
much as a word having been changed. The only change 
made in the fourteenth chapter came near the end, 
where Mark had suggested a line of dashes or stars to 
bridge the break between Jap s leaving his mother and 
the announcement that his mother was dead. Forty- 
eight words were dictated to show what Jap actually 
did, in that painful interim, the three sentences being 
rounded out by the words, "There, I think that sounds 

Sometimes, in the course of the revision, we have 
been interrupted by the jerkily traced words, "Try 
this," or "We ll fix that better," or "I told Emily to 
take out those repetitions." It has happened that he 
used the same word four times in one paragraph, and 
in copying I have substituted the obvious synonym. 
Occasionally he did not approve of my correction and 
would rebuke me sharply. In the main he has expressed 
himself as well pleased with the labor I have spared 
him. On the 10th of January, 1916, Mrs. Hays came 
to my home for a last reading of the finished manu 
script. When she read it through, I asked her to sit 
at the board with me. There was something about 
which I wanted to question Mark, and I did not wish 


her mind to interfere in any way with the answer. Mrs. 
Hays had had two curious psychic experiences in con 
nection with our work. The first came to her when we 
were still at work on "A Daughter of Mars." It was 
in the form of a vivid dream in which Mark Twain said 
to her, "Don t be discouraged, Lola. All that we have 
done in the past is just forging the hammer for the 
larger strokes we are going to make." The second 
was similar; but the man who appeared to her was a 
stocky, bald-headed man in a frock coat. When she 
asked him who he was and what he wanted, he replied, 
"Mark Twain sent me to call on you." 

At this time, "Jap Herron" was being revised, and 
she supposed that this man, with the striking person 
ality, would be introduced somewhere. However, the 
story was ended, and no such character had appeared. 
I wanted to know whether or not the dream was sig 
nificant. I said: 

"Mark, did you ever send anybody to call on Lola?" 
The planchette replied: 

"Yes, I sent him. We will do another story. We 
will wait until the smoke of this one clears away. I 
want Emily to have a rest, and many other things will 
be adjusted. I would like to have my old office force. 
It is to be a bigger book than this one more impor 
tant. The man I sent you was Brent Roberts." 

We dropped our hands in amazement. Brent Rob 
erts appears twice in the Jap Herron story. He is not 


half so conspicuous as Holmes, the saloon-keeper, or 
Hollins, the grocer. In truth, we had scarcely noticed 
him. I asked: 

"Mark, are you going to give a sequel to Map Her- 
ron ?" He said: 

"No. Brent Roberts had a story before he elected 
to spend his last years in Bloomtown. Now, girls, don t 
speculate. I am taking care of Brent Roberts." 

He added that it was "up to Emily" to give his book 
to the world, and that he intended to explore a little 
of the Uncharted Country while he was waiting for 
his office force to resume work. Once I asked him, while 
he was transmitting "A Daughter of Mars," whether 
he had ever visited that planet. He replied: 

"No, this is pure fiction. I elected to return to 
earth. I wanted to take the taste of those memoirs out 
of my mouth." 

One other passage from the early record may profit 
ably precede the actual story of Jap s coming. We 
were in the midst of the most critical revision. My 
husband was commanded to read the story, paragraph 
by paragraph. When there was no comment, the plan- 
chette remained motionless under our fingers, but there 
were few passages that escaped some change. Several 
times the changed wording conflicted with something 
farther along in the story, and it was necessary to go 
back and make another correction. The revision sheets 
covered a big table, and my husband found it very 


exasperating to make the corrections. At length Mark 
said : 

"Smoke up and cool off, old boy. Perhaps I should 
apologize. The last secretary I had used to wear an 
ice-soaked towel inside his head. The girls and old 
Mark together make a riffle. Well, we will slow up. 
In my ambition, I have been too eager. It is hard to 
explain how great a thing is the power to project my 
mentality through the clods of oblivion. I have so 
long sought for an opening. Be patient, please. I am 
not carping. I get Edwin s position. We will be easy 
with the new saddle, so the nag won t run away. I 
heard Edwin s suggestion, and it is a good one. We 
will go straight through the story, beginning where 
we left off to-night. That was what I intended to do, 
but that second chapter nipped me." 

When next we met we had no thought of any other 
work than the revision of the story on which we had 
been working at frequent intervals for about two 
months. We never knew whether a session at the board 
would begin with a bit of personal conversation or a 
prolonged stretch of dictation. We held ourselves 
passive, ready to fall in with the humor or whim of our 
astonishingly human though still intangible guest. 
The beginning of that evening s work it was the 6th 
of September was almost too great an upheaval for 
me. The planchette fairly raced as it spelled the 
words : 


"This story will have legitimate chapters. Nosy 
nopsis. Then ameisjapherron. Begin. Asevery well- 
bred story has a hero, and as the reseems better ma 
terial in jap than in any other party to this story, we 
will dignify him." 

I wanted to stop, but my husband insisted that I 
make no break in the impatient dictation. He had 
perceived that the first string of letters spelled the 
words, "No synopsis. The name is Jap Herron," but I 
could not see his copy, and to my mind the sentences 
spelled chaos. A little farther along I ventured an 
interruption, when we had transmitted the sentence, 
"The folks in Happy Hollow continued to say Mag 
nesia long after she left its fragrant depths." I had 
just spelled out the name, Agnesia, and I was too 
deeply engrossed with the labor of following the letters 
to even attempt to understand the meaning. I turned 
to my husband and said: 

"It probably didn t intend to stop on that letter M," 
whereat the planchette rebuked my stupidity thus: 
"Emily, they called her Magnesia." 

After that, I contrived to get control of my nerves, 
and the rest of the dictation was not so difficult. When 
we had received the crisp final sentence, "And stay he 
did," the planchette went right on with this informa 
tion, "This is the first copy of the first chapter. There 
will be 25 or more chapters. This is enough for this 
time, as the office force is a little weak. But results 


. . . very good. We will finish the other story and dip 
into this at the next session. There will be better 
speed in this, for there will be no revision until it is 
finished. We will work hard and fast. Emily may meet 
folks she knows in this tale, for she knows a town with 
a river and a Happy Hollow. I did not intend to start 
another story so soon, but other influences are so strong 
that they may try to dominate the board. This will 
not tire you so much. You must be determined not to 
permit intruders. If they are recognized, you will not 
be free of them again. I am pushed aside. Leave the 
board when they appear. Good-bye." 

The use of the name, Happy Hollow, forms a link 
with Hannibal; but if any of the characters in "Jap 
Herron" were drawn from life, they must have belonged 
to Mark Twain s generation and not to mine. Mark 
never seems to take into account the fact that he left 
Hannibal before I was born, and that there have been 
many changes in the old town. The character of Jacky 
Herron may have been suggested by a disreputable 
drunken fisherman whose experiences I have heard my 
father relate; but there is one little touch in that first 
chapter that must have come from Mark s own mind, 
since the underlying fact was not known to any of us 
until we read Walter Prichard Eaton s article on birds 
nests, months later. When we transmitted that state 
ment, "The father of the little Herrons was a king 
fisher," none of us knew that the kingfisher s home nest 


is a filthy hole, close to the river bank. The application 
is too perfect to have been accidental. 

Before another chapter of the story was transmitted, 
I went to spend a morning with Mrs. Hays. At the 
request of her son, we consented to allay his curiosity 
by a visible demonstration of the workings of the mys 
terious board, of which he had necessarily heard much. 
He hoped to receive some definite communication from 
his father, or the sister who had died in her girlhood; 
but this is what he recorded: 

"Emily, I gave those synopses not for a guide but to 
prevent others from imposing their ideas and confusing 
you. It might be said that it made it easier for you, 
but that idea is wrong. It would be easier to write the 
story direct. You have learned that this was wise, 
because constant efforts have been made to break in 
and alter the stories. For this reason I gave you the 
synopses, so that you could not be deceived. Now I am 
going to trust you. I intended to advise you that it 
would be a more convincing psychic record, if you have 
nothing on which a subconscious mind might be said 
to be working. The synopsis was for your protection, 
and has no value to the record. At first you had such a 
conglomerate method of working that it was necessary. 
You did not recognize the difficulties that were likely 
to occur. You were apt to employ temporary help, so 

Just what was meant by "temporary help" is not 


apparent; but there was no opportunity to question 
him further, for at that moment we were interrupted 
by the arrival of another luncheon guest and the board 
was put aside. We devoted two sessions to the revision 
and finishing touches of the troublesome short story, 
and then we plunged into the transmission of "Jap 
Herron" in deadly earnest. 

As far as possible, we sat twice a week, on Mondays 
and Fridays. We usually worked uninterruptedly for 
two hours, with no sound save that of my voice as I 
pronounced the letters and punctuation marks over 
which the pointer of the planchette paused in its swift 
race across the board. My husband discovered early 
in the work that if he permitted himself the luxury 
of a smile he was in danger of distracting Mrs. Hays, 
who always sat facing him, and thus of bringing about 
confusion in the record. Under Mark s specific instruc 
tion she has schooled herself to keep her mind as nearly 
blank as is possible for a woman who is absolutely 
conscious and normal, and the evidence that some 
thing humorous was being transmitted through her 
would be diverting, to say the least. As for my own 
part in the work, I seldom realized the import of the 
sentences I had spelled out, my whole attention being 
concentrated on the rapidly gliding pointer. When my 
husband read aloud the copy he had taken down it 
almost invariably came to Mrs. Hays and me as some 
thing entirely new. 


The story of Jap Herron, as it stands completed, 
does not follow the original order of the first fifteen 
chapters. The early part of the tale was handled in a 
manner so sketchy and rapid in its action that three 
whole chapters and seven fragments of chapters were 
dictated and inserted after the work was finished. In 
the original copy the second chapter suffered little 
change up to the point of George Thomas s advent, 
with the suggestion that he might bring in some more 
turnips. Following the disaster to Judge Bowers s 
speech, Mark took a short cut to pave the way for the 
next chapter. It ran thus : 

"But bad luck cannot camp on your trail forever. 
In the gladsome June-time, Ellis married Flossy Bow 
ers, and her dowry of two thousand dollars and her 
following of kin set the Herald on its feet." 

These two sentences were expanded into the more 
important half of the third chapter, almost five months 
after they had been dictated, and this without a reread 
ing of the story. At another time, when this curious 
kind of revision was under way, Mark dictated the lat 
ter part of the second chapter, wherein Ellis Hinton 
tells Jap how he happened to be starving in Bloomtown. 
When he had finished the dictation, with the words, 
"My boy, that blue calico lady was Mrs. Kelly Jones," 
he continued: 

"Emily will know where to fit it in." 

This fitting in was not extremely difficult, since there 


was only one place in the story into which each of the 
inserted chapters or fragments could be made to fit; 
but the original copy had to be read several times 
before these thin places became apparent, and I got 
no help whatever from Mark. Once, when I implored 
him to tell me where a certain brief but gripping para 
graph belonged, he replied, "Emily, that is your 
job. I don t want the Hannibal girl to fall down on it." 

On that second Monday night in September, when 
the "office force" settled itself to serious work, my 
husband read to us the copy we had transmitted. The 
chapter ended with what is now the closing paragraph 
of the third chapter: 

"The Herald put on a new dress, and the hell-box was 
dumped full of the discarded, mutilated types that had 
so long given strabismus to the patient readers of the 
Bloomtown Herald" 

The diet of turnips and sorghum and the other 
humorous touches of the narrative overwhelmed us with 
laughter, whereat the planchette under our fingers 
wrote : 

"Sounds like Mark, eh?" 

I asked him if he was satisfied with the use of the word 
"Herald" twice in that last sentence. He replied: 
"You must excuse me. I am all in. I told you I would 
leave minor points to your pencil. T-i-r-e-d. Good- 

Our first acquaintance with Wat Harlow, as he ap- 


peared in the fourth chapter, gave little promise of the 
character into which he was destined to be developed. 
To the three of us, who laughed over the episode of the 
vermilion handbill, he appeared to be nothing more 
than a third-rate country politician. In the original 
transcription he received only an occasional passing 
touch, until the death of Ellis brought him forth in a 
new light. We did not know then what Ellis had meant 
by "that reformed auctioneer," for the story of Wat s 
connection with the upbuilding of Bloomtown, as it is 
set forth in the sixth chapter, was not told until we 
were well along with the work of revision. 

One of the most interesting personal touches, to be 
found only in our private record, was introduced at the 
end of the fourth chapter. It had been a long stretch 
of dictation, and when the planchette stopped I asked 
if there was any more. The pointer gave only this, 
"No 30." Having had no experience with printing 
offices, I was mystified until my husband explained that 
"30 on the hook" means the end of a given piece of 

Mark once made use of the expression, "the story 
contains a great deal of brevity that will have to be 
untied later on." This untying process is nowhere 
more aptly illustrated than in the fourth chapter of 
our original copy, a brief chapter that contained the 
condensed material of Wat Harlow s letter to Jap, the 
birth of little J.W. and Isabel Granger s first kiss. 


There was nothing about Bill s boyhood, no record of 
Jap s home surroundings, none of the amusing details 
of the printing office wherein Jap and Bill were learning 
their trade. All these incidents, which seem so essen 
tial to the story, were introduced when the first draft 
of the story had been completed. The seventh chapter, 
which has to do with the babyhood of little J.W., was 
dictated after the revision had apparently been com 
pleted. When I asked Mark why he inserted it, the 
planchette made this curious reply: 

"I was thinking that we d better soften the shock of 
the boy s death." 

For us, through whom the story was being trans 
mitted, there was no softening of Ellis Hinton s death. 
We knew from the foregoing chapter that the country 
editor had gone to the mountains for his health, and 
that Flossy had no hope ; but when we had recorded the 
words : "Jap closed the press upon the inky type, and 
gathered the great bunches of fragrant blossoms and 
heaped them upon the press, to be forever silent," a 
great wave of sadness swept over me, I knew not why. 
The action of the planchette was so rapid that I 
could not stop to think or question. It was as if the 
man dictating the story had an unpleasant task before 
him, which he wished to have done with as soon as 
possible. When the final words, "At rest. FLOSSY," 
had been spelled out, and the planchette stopped 
abruptly, Mrs. Hays cried : 


"My God, what has happened!" and I looked up to 
see that she was very white, and tears were slipping 
down her cheeks. 

"Ellis is dead," my husband said, very simply. He 
had foreseen the end, had grasped the infinite pathos 
of that old Washington press, decked as a funeral 
casket with the flowers that had been sent to usher in 
the new regime. 

When the evening s copy had been read, I asked 
Mark if he wished to comment on it. 

"Not to-night, Emily," the planchette spelled. "I 
am all broken up. I didn t want Ellis to die. I tried 
to figure a way to save him ; but I couldn t make it go." 

When we met again, on the 2d of October, the dicta 
tion began with these words : 

"I want Edwin to go back to the beginning of the 
last chapter. I left out a sentence that is necessary. 
It explains why Ellis left by rail. You insert." 

Then he dictated the passage relating to the new 
railroad and the temporary station. When he had 
finished he said, "Go on with the story," and the next 
sentence began, "When Ellis went away it was to the 
sound of jollity." The reference to Robert Louis 
Stevenson was new to both of us, and we have not 
sought to verify the incident. That Mark wanted it 
included in his story was sufficient for us. 

That next chapter contained another accumulation 
of brevity which was afterward untied. The funeral, 


the reading of Ellis Hinton s will, Judge Bowers s can 
didacy, the nomination of Jap Herron as the ugliest 
man in Bloomtown, Bill s first spree and the local 
option fight, all these were sketched with the sharp 
ness and sudden transition of pictures on a cinemato 
graph screen. The following chapter was almost as 
tightly packed with incident, and in the midst of it 
there was a break, with an astonishing explanation. 
Three evenings in succession we had had trouble with 
the planchette. It had seemed to me that Mrs. Hays 
was trying to pull it from beneath my fingers. Mean 
while she had mentally accused me of digital heaviness. 
She uses the finger tips of her left hand while I use 
my right. As a rule our touch is so light that the 
planchette glides automatically. On these three eve 
nings we had left the board with cramped fingers, and 
a general sense of dissatisfaction. Several sentences 
that were plainly spurious were afterward stricken 
from the record ; but we had forgotten about the other 
scribes who wanted "a pencil on earth," until Mark 
interrupted the story to say: 

"I must ask you to be wary and sharp to dismiss 
impostors. Right now there are more than twenty 
hands trying to control your dictation. It is very 
hard for me. I am disconsolate, and powerless to help 
myself. If we do not watch every avenue, our work is 
spoiled. There has been a constant struggle for my 


rights. I only ask a little help, and you are all my 
hope. If you fail me, I am undone." 

This illuminating outburst served to clear the atmos 
phere, and the three chapters were afterward expanded 
into seven, much of the same diction being reproduced. 
It was as if Mark, knowing the difficulties on his own 
side of the shadow-line, had tried to get at least the 
outline of his story down on paper, lest he lose his hold 
entirely. After that evening we had almost no trouble 
with intruders. 

The story of Jones, of the Barton Standard, came 
to us like a thunder clap from a cloudless sky, for the 
part which old Pee-Dee Jones played in the develop 
ment of Bloomtown and Barton was not related until 
we had begun the work of revision. In the original 
story of that near-fight, Mark gave us a significant 
cross-light on the conditions under which he lives. The 
marshal had appeared in the office at the crucial mo 
ment, as if he had dropped through the roof or arisen 
out of the floor. Several times in the earlier part of the 
work the characters had thus appeared without obvious 
means of locomotion, and I had called attention to the 
inconsistency, with the result that Mark had dictated 
a few words to show how or whence the new arrival 
had come. When Wilfred Jones shouted to the mar 
shal, "I demand protection," my husband, who was 
reading the evening s copy aloud to us, said: 

"How does the marshal happen to be there ? I don t 
see any previous mention of him." 

Instantly the planchette, which we always kept in 
readiness under our finger tips, began to move. It dic 
tated this: 

"You might say, e at that moment the town marshal, 
wearing his star pinned to his blue flannel shirt, strolled 
in. I have been away from the need of going up 
stairs and down-stairs for so long that I forget about 

"How do you get from one place to another, Mark?" 
I asked. 

"Now, Emily, curiosity ! But you know we haven t 
any Pullman cars or elevators here. When I want to 
be at a place where I am free to go why, I am there." 

He took occasion, when our difficulties seemed to be 
at an end and his grip on his "pencil" was once more 
firmly established, to make it very plain to me that I 
alone was responsible for the annoyance we had had. 
He put it thus : 

"Things will be all right if you don t give way to 
any more curiosity. In the beginning I told you that 
it would not do. Emily wants to investigate too much. 
It must be one or all. Edwin and I understand. It 
was you that mixed the type. Lola must be passive. 
If she tries to watch for intruders, she gets in my way. 
So it is up to the Hannibal girl." 

I do not know, even now, how I could have prevented 


the trouble that well-nigh wrecked our work. It is true 
I had taken part in another psychic demonstration, but 
it was in a remote part of the city and it had nothing 
to do with Mark Twain s "pencil." However, I took 
no further chance with psychic investigation. 

When Jap Herron was elected Mayor of Bloomtown, 
and the girl he loved had walked right into his aston 
ished arms, it seemed to us that the story must be 
ended. We had forgotten that Jap ever had a family 
of his own, a mother and two sisters, and when the 
drunken hag reeled into the Herald office we were as 
greatly horrified as Jap himself was. I had put my 
husband s carefully kept copy into type-written form, 
and it occurred to me to get the opinion of a master 
critic on the story, not as evidence of the survival of 
the human mind after physical death, but as pure 
fiction. Acting upon the impulse, and without telling 
either my husband or Mrs. Hays what I intended to do, 
I took the copy to William Marion Reedy, 1 permitting 
him to infer that I had created it, and asked him to 
tell me whether, in his judgment, the story was worth 

1 William Marion Reedy, Editor and Publisher of Reedy s Mir 
ror, a weekly journal published in St. Louis, has long been in 
terested in psychic phenomena, as a source of exotic and un 
usual literature. He has also discovered and developed much 
purely terrestrial literary talent, having brought out some of 
the best poets and fiction writers of present-day America, As 
a critic, he is a recognized master. 


finishing. It was the beginning of the week, when the 
issuing of the Mirror consumed all his time, and while 
I was waiting for his verdict we received three more 
chapters. In the first of these we had a new light on 
Isabel Granger s character, and came for the first time 
absolutely to love Bill Bowers. After that nothing that 
Bill might do would shake our faith in his ability to 
make good in the end. He might be weak and foolish, 
but we understood why Jap believed in and loved him. 
We were jubilant when Rosy Raymond was eliminated 
from the game, for we feared, whenever we permitted 
ourselves to speculate, that Bill would marry her, and 
regret the step. We assumed that the son of the much- 
married Judge Bowers had inherited a nature suffi 
ciently mobile to recover from the shock of the silly 
girl s perfidy. 

While this unexpected development of the story was 
being revealed to us, William Marion Reedy sent me, 
in the envelope with the first ten chapters of "Jap Her- 
ron," a criticism that fairly made me tingle with de 
light. Had the work been my own, I could not have 
been more pleased with his unstinted praise. I wanted 
to go to him at once and confess the truth ; but he was 
not in his office when I called. 

Two of the succeeding chapters were taken down by 
friends who had been let into the secret of our work and 
had asked permission to sit with us. It was the time 
of year when my husband could seldom spare an eve- 


ning from his work, and Mark consented to break into 
his beloved office-force arrangement, for the sake of 
expediency. Three men and five women served us in 
the capacity of amanuenses while the latter third of 
the book was being transmitted. The first deviation 
from our original arrangement came in connection with 
the dictation of the seventeenth chapter, the chapter 
that ends with the death of Flossy and her son. We 
were three sympathetic women, and when the planchette 
had traced the words, "It was a smile of heavenly 
beauty, as the pure soul of Ellis Hinton s wife flew to 
join her loved ones," we three burst simultaneously into 
violent weeping. I have never experienced more genu 
ine grief at the grave of a departed friend or relative 
than I felt when this woman, who had come to be more 
than human to me, was released from her envelope of 
mortal clay. 

The following day Mrs. Hays and I were invited to 
the home of a delightful little Scotch woman who asked 
us to bring the planchette board. She knew nothing 
of the story, and had no intimation of the personality 
on the other side who was sending it across, through 
our planchette; nevertheless she was willing to keep 
copy for us. The chapter she wrote down is the eigh 
teenth in the finished story, Jap s funeral sermon 
and Isabel s song beside Flossy s coffin. Even now I 
cannot think of that scene without a swelling of the 


throat and a blinding rush of tears. It is needless 
to say we wept when the dictation was ended. 

When our hostess had read aloud the copy I asked 
our invisible companion if he had anything more to say. 
I avoided mentioning his name, for we did not wish his 
identity disclosed. The planchette traced the curious 
words : 

"You know that the air gets pretty damp for an 
old boy after this." 

I looked out of the window. It was a murky Novem 
ber afternoon, and I asked, "Do you feel the dampness 
of the material atmosphere?" Like a flash came the 
reply : 

"Emily, girl, you have been getting sob stuff." 

Then I yearned to get my fingers in his shock of 
white hair, for I knew Mark Twain was laughing at me. 
But I had that which gave me consolation, for I had 
brought with me Mr. Reedy s letter, analyzing and 
commenting upon the story that Mark had created. 
Incidentally Mrs. Reedy had asked Mrs. Hays and me 
to come to her home the following day to luncheon. I 
had told her that Mrs. Hays possessed a high degree 
of psychic power, and I consented to bring our board 
for a demonstration. I wanted to see Mr. Reedy alone 
and explain to him that "Jap Herron" had come to 
us over that insensate board, but opportunity was 
denied me. As soon as luncheon was over we went 
up to that beautiful yellow room in which the best of 


Reedy s Mirror is created, and Mrs. Hays and I 
placed the board on our knees. As soon as Mr. Reedy s 
fountain pen was ready for action our planchette 
began : 

"Well, I should doff my plaidie and don a kirtle, for 
tis not the sands o Dee but the wearing o the green." 
There was a wide sweep of the planchette, and then, 
" Tis not the shine of steel that always reflects ; but 
it is the claymore that cuts. Both are made of steel 
and both will mirror sometimes the shillalah. Yet the 
shillalah is better than the claymore, for the man that 
is cut will run ; but if ye slug him with the blackthorn 
he will have to listen. This is just a flicker of high 
light. Bill jumped from bed as the rattle of the latch 
announced the arrival of a visitor." 

My heart thumped wildly for a moment, then sank. 
I knew that the Bill referred to was Bill Bowers, and 
not the editor whom hundreds delight to call "Bill 
Reedy," and I knew, too, that it would be only a mo 
ment until he must realize that the sentences he was 
writing down from my dictation were part and parcel 
of the story whose first ten chapters he had read and 
praised. I dared not lift my eyes from the board, yet 
I wanted to stop and explain that I had not intended 
to deceive him- that I only wanted an unbiased opinion 
of Mark Twain s story. In vain I tried to stop the 
whirling planchette, my voice so husky that I could 
scarcely pronounce the letters. It went right on, with 


a situation that neither Mrs. Hays nor I had antici 
pated. We had schooled ourselves not to speculate, 
yet the previous afternoon we had left Jap in a fainting 
condition and on the verge of a long illness. The chap 
ter we transmitted that day was the story of a guber 
natorial election in a small Missouri town. 

Subsequently, when Mark gave us the intervening 
chapter, Jap s visit to the cemetery and the humorous 
incidents of the campaign, I asked him: 

"Why didn t you give this chapter last Thursday?" 

"I thought that election would amuse Reedy. Don t 
worry, Emily. He understood you. He knows the 
Hannibal girl is honest," was the comforting reply. 

When the revision of the story was under way, and 
several fragments had been dictated, the planchette 
spelled the words, "I want to add something to the 
Reedy chapter," and without further ado it proceeded : 
"The Bloomtown Herald did itself proud that week." 
That fragment was the easiest of them all to fit into 
place. At its conclusion we were favored with a bit 
of pleasantry that seems significant. My husband gave 
us a lift whenever he could spare the time ; but on this 
occasion a woman friend was sitting with us. She had 
written about two thousand words of copy, when the 
tenor of the dictation changed suddenly to the per 
sonal vein. 

"Old Mark has been working like a badger, and is 
pleased with the story. The girls and friend Ed are 


going as well as Twain ever did when he wielded his 
own pen. When Edwin lights up a fresh smoke and 
smiles, I know that all is well. But when Lola frowns 
and Edwin forgets to smoke, look out for leaks. The 
story has sprung and therain was hesitthininspots." 
The last of the sentence came so rapidly that none of 
us had any idea what it meant, or that it meant any 
thing at all. Before we had separated it into the 
words, "the rain washes it thin in spots," I asked that 
that last part be repeated. Instead we got the words : 

"When a board is sprung, it lets in rain. It is Emily 
who has to hold the drip pan for the temperamental 

"Thank you for those few kind words, Mark," I 
said. "But if you think enough of me to trust me 
with this important work, why do you single me out 
for all the scoldings, when Edwin and Lola sometimes 
deserve at least a share in your displeasure?" 

"Whist, Hannibal girl, we know our office force," 
was the humorous rejoinder. 

The appearance of Agnesia was one of the keen sur 
prises of the story, and before we realized what Jap s 
little sister would mean to Bloomtown, Mark inter 
rupted his dictation with the words, "Stop ! Girls, the 
yarn is nearly all unwound. We will skip a bit that we 
will tie in later. But now Bill sat doubled over the 
case, the stick held listlessly in his hand. Nervously he 
fingered the copy, not knowing what he was reading." 


Without a break, we received the brief final chapter, 
ending with the words, "Isabel wants to call him 
Jasper William." The planchette added, "The End." 
We transmitted no more that day, although we knew 
that our story was far from completion. 

The next time we met we had another surprise in 
the coming of Jap s elder sister. When the twenty-fifth 
chapter was finished, Mark said: 

"Girls, I think the story is done." 

"It s pretty short for a book," I protested. By way 
of reply, he gave this: 

"Did you ever know about my prize joke? One day 
I went to church, heard a missionary sermon, was car 
ried away to the extent of a hundred dollars. The 
preacher kept talking. I reduced my ante to fifty 
dollars. He talked on. I came down to twenty-five, 
to ten, to five, and after he had said all that he had in 
him, I stole a nickel from the basket. Reason for your 
selves. Not how long but how strong. Yet I have a 
sneaking wish to tell you something of the early days of 
Ellis s work, especially about Granger and Blanke. 
But to-day I have writer s cramp. So let s get together 
soon and make the finish complete." 

There were two more sessions, with the dictation of 
a whole chapter and several fragments, at each meet 
ing, and we met no more until I had put the whole 
complex record into consecutive form. We had a final 
review of the work, and a few minor changes in words. 


and phrases were made. Mark expressed himself as 
well pleased, and as a little farewell he gave us this, 
which has nothing to do with Jap Herron: 

"There will be a great understanding some day. It 
will come when the earth realizes that we must leave 
it, to live, and when it can put itself in touch with the 
heavens that surround it. I have met a number of 
preachers over here who would like to undo many things 
they promulgated while they had a whack at sinners. 

"There are hardshell Baptists who have a happy 
time meeting their members, to whom they preached hell 
and brimstone. They have many things to explain. 
There is one melancholy Presbyterian who frankly 
stated the fact underscore fact that there were 
infants in hell not an ell long. He has cleared out 
quite a space in hell since he woke up. He doesn t rush 
out to meet his congregation. It would create trouble 
and be embarrassing if they looked around for the suf 
fering infants. As I said before, there is everything 
to learn, after the shackles of earth are thrown aside. 
I would like to write a story about some of these 
preachers, and the mistakes they made, when the doc 
trines of brimstone and everlasting punishment were 
ladled out as freely to the little maid who danced as to 
the harlot. It showed a mind asleep to the undis 
covered country." 

"Can you shed any light on that undiscovered coun 
try?" I asked him. 


"Perhaps. But for the present there is enough of 
the truth of life and death in Jap Herron to hold 

And with that he told us good-bye. 




As every well-bred story has a hero, and as there 
seems better material in Jap than any other party to 
this story, we will dignify him. Mary Herron feebly 
asserted her rights in the children by naming them 
respectively, Fanny Maud, Jasper James and Agnesia. 
Jasper deteriorated. He became Jap, and Jap he re 
mained, despite the fact that Fanny Maud developed 
into Fannye Maude and Agnesia changed her cogno 
men, without recourse to law, to Mabelle. The folks in 
Happy Hollow continued to say "Magnesia" long after 
she left its fragrant depths. 

The father of the little Herrons was a kingfisher. 
He spent his hours of toil on the river bank and his 
hours of ease in Mike s place. One Friday, good luck 
peered through the dingy windows of the little shanty 
where the Herrons starved, froze or sweltered. It was 
Friday, as I remarked before. Mary was washing, 
against difficulties. It had rained for a week. The 
clothes had to dry before Mary could cash her labor, 



and it fretted Jacky Herron sorely. His credit had 
lost caste with Mike, and Mike had the grip on the 
town. He had the only thirst parlor in Happy Hol 
low. So Jacky smashed the only remaining window, 
broke the family cup, and set forth defiantly in the 
rain. And in the fog and slashing rain he lost his 
footing, and fell into the river. As it was Friday, Mary 
had hopefully declared that luck would change and it 

The town buried Jacky and moved his family into 
decent lodgings, because the Town Fathers did not 
want to contract typhoid in ministering to them. 
Loosed of the incubus of a father, the little family 
grew in grace. Jappie, as his baby sister called him, 
was the problem. Agnesia was pretty, and the Mayor s 
wife adopted her. Fanny Maud went west to live with 
her aunt, and Jap remained with his mother until she, 
after the manner of womankind, who never know when 
they have had luck, married another bum and began 
supporting him. Jap ran away. 

He was twelve years old, red-headed, freckled and 
lanky, when he trailed into Bloomtown. He loafed 
along the main street until he reached the printing 
office, and there he stopped. An aphorism of his late 
lamented dad occurred to him. 

"Ef I had a grain of gumption," said dad, during 
an enforced session of his family s society, "I would 
V went to work in my daddy s printin office, instid of 


runnin away when I was ten year old. I might a had 
money, aplenty, stid of bein cumbered and helt down 
by you and these brats." 

Jap straggled irregularly inside and heard the old 
Washington hand press groan and grunt its weary way 
through the weekly edition of the Herald. After the 
last damp sheet had been detached from the press, and 
the papers were being folded by the weary-eyed, inky 
demon who had manipulated the handle, he slouched 

"Say, Mister," he asked confidently, "do you do that 
every day?" indicating the press, " cause I m goin* to 
work for you." 

The editor, pressman and janitor looked upon him 
in surprise and pity. 

"I appreciate your ambition," he said, more in 
sorrow than anger, "but I have become so attuned 
to starving alone that I don t think I could adjust 
myself to the shock of breaking my fast on you." 

Jap was unmoved. 

"My dad onct thought he d be a editor, but he got 
married," he said calmly. 

"Sensible dad," commented the editor, with more 
truth than he dreamed. "I suppose that he had three 
meals a day, and a change of socks on Sunday." 

"But Ma had to get em," argued Jap. "I want 
to be a editor, and I am agoin to stay." And stay 
he did. 


"RUN out and get a box of sardines," ordered the 
boss of the Washington press. "I ve got a nickel. 
I can t let you starve. I lived three months on them 
look at me !" 

Jap surveyed him apprehensively. 

"I d hate to be so thin," he complained, "and I don t 
like sardines nor any fishes. My dad fed us them every 
day. Allus wanted to taste doughnuts. Can I buy 

Ellis Hinton laughed shortly, and spun the nickel 
across the imposing stone. Jap caught it deftly. An 
hour later he appeared for work, smiling cheerfully. 

"Why the shiner?" queried Ellis, indicating a badly 
swollen and rapidly discoloring eye. 

"Kid called me red-top," said Jap bluntly. 

"Love o gracious," Ellis exclaimed, "whu,t is the 

"It s red," quoth Jap, "but it ain t his business. If I 
am agoin to be a editor, nobody s goin to get familiar 
with me." 

This was Jap s philosophy, and in less than a week 
he had mixed with every youth of fighting age in town. 



The office took on metropolitan airs because of the 
rush of indignant parents who thronged its portals. 
Ellis pacified some of the mothers, outtalked part of 
the fathers and thrashed the remainder. After he had 
mussed the outer office with "Judge" Bowers, and tipped 
the case over with the final effort that threw him, 
Jap said, solemnly surveying the wreck: 

"If I had a dad like you, I d V been the President 
some day." 

Ellis gazed ruefully into the mess of pi, and kicked 
absently at the hell-box. 

"I ll work all night," cried Jap eagerly. "I ll clean 
it up." 

"We ll have plenty of time," said Ellis gloomily. 
"We have to hit the road, kid. Judge Bowers owns 
the place. He has promised to set us out before 

But luck came with Jap. It was Friday again, and 
Bowers s wife presented him with twins, his mother-in- 
law arrived, and his uncle inherited a farm. There 
was only one way for the news to be disseminated, and 
he came in with his truculent son and helped clean 
up, so that the Herald could be issued on time. More 
than that, he made the boys shake hands, and con 
cluded to put Bill to work in the Herald office. After 
he had puffed noisily out, Ellis looked whimsically 
at Bill. 


"Are you going to board yourself out of what I am 
able to pay you?" he asked. 

"Oh, I don t reckon Pappy cares about that," the 
boy said cheerfully. "He just wants to keep me out 
of mischief, and he said that lookin at you was enough 
to sober a sot." 

Months dragged by. Bill and Jap worked more or 
less harmoniously. Once a day they fought ; but it was 
fast becoming a mere function, kept up just for form. 
Ellis was doing better. He had set up housekeeping, 
since Jap came, in the back room of the little wooden 
structure that faced the Public Square, and housewives 
sent them real food once in a while. 

Once Ellis feared that Jap was going to quit him for 
the Golden Shore. It was on the occasion of Myrtilla 
Botts s wedding, when she baked the cakes herself, for 
practice, and her mother thoughtfully sent most of 
them to the Editor, to insure a big puff for Myrtilla. 
Ellis was afraid; but Jap, with the enthusiasm and in 
experience of youth, took a chance. Bill was laid up 
with mumps, or the danger would have been lessened. 
As it was, it took all the doctors in town to keep Jap 
alive until they could uncurl him and straighten out 
his appendix, which appeared to be cased in wedding 
cake. This experience gave Jap an added distaste for 
the state of matrimony. 

"My dad allus said to keep away from marryin 5 ," 


he moaned. "But how d I know you d ketch it from 
the eatin s ?" 

The subscription list grew apace. There was a 
load of section ties, two bushel of turnips and six pump 
kins paid in November. Bill and Jap went hunting 
once a week, so the larder grew beyond sardines. Jap 
acquired a hatred of turnips and pumpkins that was 
in after years almost a mania. At Christmas, Kelly 
Jones brought in a barrel of sorghum, "to sweeten 
em," he guffawed. Jap had grown to manhood before 
he wholly forgave that pleasantry. It was a hard 
winter. Everybody said so, and when Jap gazed at 
Ellis across the turnips and sorghum of those weary 
months, he said he believed it. 

"Shame on you," rebuked Ellis, gulping his turnips 
with haste. "Think of the wretched people who would 
be glad to get this food." 

"Do you know any of their addresses?" asked Jap 
abruptly. "Because I can t imagine anybody happy 
on turnips and sorghum. I d be willin to trade my 
wretched for theirn." 

Kelly said that Jap would be fat as butter if he ate 
plenty of molasses, and this helped at first ; but when 
the grass came, he begged Ellis to cook it for a change. 

When George Thomas came in, one blustery March 
day, to say that if the turnips were all gone, he would 
bring in some more, Ellis pied Judge Bowers s speech 
on the duties of the Village Fathers to the alleys, when 


he saw the malignant look that Jap cast upon the 
cheery farmer. 

Once a week Bill and Jap drew straws to determine 
which one should fare forth in quest of funds, and for 
the first time in his brief business career, Jap was glad 
the depressing task had fallen to him. "Pi" was likely 
to bring on an acute attack of mental indigestion, and 
the boy had learned to dread Ellis Hinton s infrequent 
but illuminating flame of wrath. 

The catastrophe had been blotted out, the last 
stickful of type had been set and Bill had gone home 
to supper when Jap, leg-weary and discouraged, wan 
dered into the office. Ellis looked up from the form 
he was adjusting. 

"How did you ever pick out this town?" the boy 
complained, turning the result of his day s collection 
on the table. 

Ellis turned from the bit of pine he was whittling, a 
makeshift depressingly familiar to the country editor. 
He scanned the meager assortment of coins with 
anxious eye. Jap s lower jaw dropped. 

"I ll have to fire you if you haven t got enough to 
pay for the paper." 

"Got enough for that," said Jap mournfully, "but 
not enough for meat." 

"Didn t Loghman owe for his ad?" Ellis demanded. 
"Did you ask him for it?" 


"Says you owe him more n he s willin for you to 
owe," Jap ventured. 

Ellis sighed. 

"Meat s not healthy this damp weather," he sug 
gested. "Cook something light." 

"It ll be darned light," said Jap. "There s one 

"No bread?" asked Ellis. 

"Give that scrap to the cat," Jap returned. "Doc 
Hall says she s done eat all the mice in town and if we 
don t feed her she ll be eatin off n the subscribers." 

"Confound Doc Hall," stormed Ellis. "You take 
your orders from me. That bread, stewed with potato, 
would have made a dandy dish." He shook the form 
to settle it, and faced Jap. 

"How did I come to pick this place?" he said slowly. 
"Well, Jap, it was the dirtiest deal a boy ever got. I 
had a little money after my father died. I wanted to 
invest it in a newspaper, somewhere in the West, where 
the world was honest and young. I had served my 
apprenticeship in a dingy, narrow little New England 
office, and I thought my lifework was cut out for me. 
I had big dreams, Jap. I saw myself a power in my 
town. With straw and mud I wanted to build a town 
of brick and stone. Dreams, dreams, Jap, dreams. 
Some day you may have them, too." 

He let his lean form slowly down into a chair. Jap 


braced himself against the table as the narrative con 
tinued : 

"In Hartford I met Hallam, the man who started the 
Bloomtown Herald. I heard his flattering version. I 
inspected his subscription list and studied the columns 
of his paper, full of ads. I bought. The subs were 
deadheads, the ads gratuitous, for my undoing. It 
was indeed straw and mud, and, lad, it has remained 
straw and mud." He leaned his head on his hand for a 

"That was the year after you were born, Jap. I was 
only twenty-one. For a year I was hopeful; then I 
dragged like a dead dog. You will be surprised when 
I tell you what brought me to life again. I tell you 
this, boy, so that you will never despise Opportunity, 
though she may wear blue calico, as mine did. 

"It was one dark, cold day. No human face had 
come inside the office for a week. That was the period 
of my life when I learned how human a cat can be. We 
were starving, the cat and me, with the advantage in 
favor of the cat. She could eat vermin. I sat by the 
table, wondering the quickest way to get out of it. Yes, 
Jap, the first and, God help me, the only time that life 
was worthless. The door opened and a plump woman 
dressed in blue calico, a sunbonnet pushed back from 
her smiling face, entered." 

To Jap, who listened with his heart in his throat, it 
seemed that Ellis was quoting perhaps a page from the 


memoirs he had written for the benefit of his townsmen. 
His deep, melodious voice fell into the rhythmic cadence 
of a reader, as he continued: 

" Howdy, Mr. Editor, she chirped. I ve been 
keenin for a long time to come in to see you. I think 
you are aprintin the finest paper I ever seen. I 
brought you a mess of sassage and a passel of bones 
from the killin . It s so cold, they ll keep a spell. And 
here s a dollar for next year s paper. I don t want to 
miss a number. I am areadin it over and over. Seems 
like you are agoin to make a real town out of Bloom- 
town, and with a friendly pat on the arm, she was 

Ellis brushed the long hair from his brow, the 
strange modulation went out of his voice and the fire 
returned to his brown eyes as he said: 

"Jap, I got up from that table and fell on my knees, 
and right there I determined that starvation nor cold 
nor any other enemy should rout me. Jap, I am going 
to make Bloomtown a real town yet. My boy, that 
blue calico lady was Mrs. Kelly Jones." 


ELLIS scowled and kicked his stool absently with his 

"Will you explain where the colons and semicolons 
have emigrated to?" he asked Bill, with suppressed 

"We was short of quads, and I whittled em off." 

Ellis glared at Bill s ingenuous face. 

"And what, pray, did you whittle to take their 

"Never had no call to use em," muttered Bill, chew 
ing up the item he had just disposed of. "I can say 
all that I can think with commas and periods." 

"Abraham Lincoln used colons and semicolons," said 
Ellis, shortly, "and I am setting his immortal speech. 
What am I going to do about it, my intelligent co- 

Bill coughed violently as the wad of paper slipped 
down his throat. 

"Try George Washington," he advised. "They 
didn t have so much trimmin s to their talk them days." 

Jap shoved a chair against the door sill and flung 
the door ajar to cut off the blast of hot air that swept 
the office. 



"Gee-whiz !" he complained, "I m chokin on the dust. 
However did they get Bloomtown hitched on to this 
patch of dirt? There ain t a flower in a mile, ceptin 
the half-dead sprigs the wimmin are acoaxin against 
their will." 

"When I came here," said Ellis, "the old settlers told 
me that whenever I wanted information I should hunt 
up Kelly Jones. There he goes now. Call him in." 

But Kelly was coming anyway. He carried a mys 
terious basket and his sun-burned face was full of sup 
pressed excitement. 

"Wife allowed that you and Jap must be putty nigh 
starved," he chuckled, shifting the quid to his other 
cheek. "I reckon she knowed that Jap done the cookin 
Wednesdays and Thu sdays." 

He lifted the clean white towel from the basket, dis 
closing a pound of yellow butter, a glass of jelly, a loaf 
of bread and two pies, fairly reeking aroma. 

"Fu st blackberries," asserted Kelly. "I ain t had a 
pie myself yet, and wife forbid me to take a bite o 

"God bless the wife of our countryman, Kelly Jones. 
May her shade never grow less," said Ellis fervently, 
stowing the basket away. "If Jap and Bill stick all 
the matter on the hooks before noon, they may have 
pie. Otherwise the Editor of the Herald exercises his 
prerogative and eats both pies." 

"Kelly," asked Jap abruptly, "why did they call this 


patch of dust Bloomtown ? Did they ever have even 
peppergrass growin along its edges?" 

Kelly settled himself comfortably in Ellis s chair and 
draped his long legs over the exchanges. Filling his 
mouth with Granger twist, he said: 

" Twa n t because of the blooms. Fact is, it never 
was bloom in the fu st place. Old man Blome owned 
this track of land his name was Jerusalem Blome. 
Folks used to say Jerusalem Blown. Purty nice story 
there is about this town and Barton, why neither of 
em has got a railroad, and why Barton is bigger in 
money and sca cer in folks." 

Ellis put his stickful of type on the case resignedly. 
Bill and Jap deposited their weary frames on the door 
step. The hot wind blew in their faces, laden with dust. 
The smell of dried grass was odorous. 

"Looks like it mout blow up a rain," said Kelly, 
sniffing approvingly. 

"Well, Kelly," declared Ellis, "you have tied the 
wheels of this machine. Deliver the goods you prom 
ised. We are not interested in rain." 

"Humph!" ruminated Kelly, "it was this-a-^ay: Old 
man Blome bought this track about the time that Luel- 
len Barton moved to her plantation. It mout a been 
sooner; I ain t sure. Barton leastways, what is Bar 
ton now belonged to old Simpson Barton. When he 
went south and married a rip-snortin widow, he 
brought his wife and a passel o niggers to live at the 


old home place. There hadn t never been no niggers 
there, along of the fu st Mis Barton. 

"When war broke out the niggers run away, along 
of Jerusalem Blome, that got up a nigger regimint. 
After the war there was talk of a railroad. It would 
run right through the Blome farm and cross the Barton 
place crossways. My daddy was overseer for Mis 
Barton. Simp didn t have nothin to say about the 
runnin of the place. I was a tyke, doin errands for 
everybody, and I hcerd a lot o the railroad talk. Old 
Blome was sellin his farm in town lots, gettin ready 
for the boom for who would a thought that Mis 
Barton would turn her back on such a proposition? 

"You see, it was this-a-way: Mis Luellen was allus 
speculatin in niggers, and a month before war broke, 
she had bought a load of Guinea niggers the kind that 
looks like they are awearin bustles, you know. Simp 
kinder smelt war, but, Lordee, Luellen wouldn t be 
dictated to ! And she went broke, flat as a flitter. All 
that was left was the thousand acres of Barton land. 

"Railroad? No, siree! She heard about old man 
Blome s activity, and she had it in for Blome. She 
sat up and primped her lips when Pee-Dee Jones come in 
behalf of the railroad. That s how the Barton Joneses 
come to settle in this neck o the woods. Pee-Dee Jones 
no kin o mine had a winnin way, and he purty 
nigh got Mis Luellen s name on the paper, when he let 
slip that he intended buildin a town on her land. Do 


you think that I am agoin to have a lot of blue-bellied 
Yankees in my very dooryard? she yelled. You are 
mistaken. And so she stuck. 

"Afterwards she learned that Fee-Dee Jones had fol- 
lered Grant. Whew ! She nigh busted with rage. Mis 
Luellen allus said that she could smell a Yankee a mile, 
and as she didn t like the smell, she cropped the rail 
road boom. It went five mile north of her place, and 
missed Bloomtown twenty mile. That s why the two 
towns are just livin along. The folks that bought lots 
of old Blome tried to get another railroad to come their 
way. That was when the Wabash looked like it was 
headed for my farm; but I reckon that opportunities 
like that don t come but onct in a lifetime. 

"I wonder that Mis Luellen s spook don t howl 
around Barton every night, for Jones bought the big 
house after she died, and the fambly comes back there 
to live whenever their luck goes wrong. Pee-Dee s boy, 
Brons Jones, started a paper there, about the time that 
Hallam started the Bloomtown Herald. He sold out 
to a poor devil that s racin to see if he can starve 
quicker n Ellis. Brons ain t been around these parts, 
the last few years, but he owns a lot o Barton property 
that he thinks 11 make good some day." 

Kelly aimed a clear stream of tobacco juice at the 
dingy brown cuspidor, and made as if to settle himself 
for further narrative. 

"Jap, Bill, get to work," commanded Ellis. "And, 


Kelly, much as I appreciate you and your excellent 
wife, I must dispense with your society. I need these 

As the farmer departed, grinning cheerfully, Tom 
Granger appeared at the door of the Herald office. 
A conference of prominent citizens had been summoned 
to meet, early that afternoon, in the Granger and Har- 
low bank, a somewhat more pretentious building, sep 
arated from the Herald office by a narrow alley; and 
during a lull in the morning s business Tom was serving 
himself in the capacity of errand boy. From his place 
on the front steps, he could watch for the possible ad 
vent of depositor or daylight robber, there being no 
rear door to the bank. 

"You ll be on hand, Ellis," he reminded. "Couldn t 
have any kind of a meeting without the Herald, you 
know. We won t keep you long." 

But the session was more important than the banker 
had anticipated. Judge Bowers had prepared a 
lengthy discourse, and others had opinions that needed 
ventilating. Once or twice, Ellis was irritated by 
shrieks of laughter that emanated from the office across 
the alley, usually in Bill s shrill treble. When the cause 
of the merriment had reached an exceptional climax, 
the Editor pounced upon his assistants, wearing the 
scowl of a thunder god. Jap and Bill got up, shame 
facedly, as he demanded: 


"What do you think I am conducting this plant for? 
A circus for horse-play?" 

He kicked the cat loose from the box Jap had it 
hitched to. The two boys looked ruefully at their over 
turned cart. 

"There goes the hell-box !" Bill screamed. 

Ellis stared at him in transfixed wrath. 

"Was that pi?" he demanded, looking down the hole 
in the floor into which most of the contents of the box 
had spilled. 

Bill darted into the back room and sneaked swiftly 
out through the alley door. The office saw him no more 
that day. With such tools as were available, Jap set 
to work to undo the mischief he had wrought. An 
hour later, he replaced the plank in the floor. The 
rescued type was piled in a dirty litter of refuse. Ellis 
leaned over it, attracted by a gleam that shone as not 
even new type could glitter. 

"It s a ring," explained Jap, furtively. "I reckon 
you won t be so mad now. I can soak it when we get 
hungry. I soaked my ma s ring, lots of times." 

"Why, you young reprobate !" exclaimed Ellis, 
"that ring is not yours, or mine. We will advertise it." 
He smiled in Jap s disappointed face. "It looked like 
a beefsteak, didn t it, boy? Well, virtue is its own 
reward, and maybe the owner will pay for the ad." 

But she did not, and yet the kick given to the inof 
fensive office cat had effects as far-reaching in the 


result to Bloomtown as did the kick of the famous 
Chicago cow, with this difference, that the effects were 
not disastrous. The brief ad in the Herald brought 
Flossy Bowers from her home in Barton to claim 
a ring she had lost fifteen years before. 

"The office used to belong to Pap s daddy," Bill ex 
plained to Jap, as Ellis and Miss Bowers stood chatting 
in the front door. "When Grandpap was lawyerin , he 
had this for his office, and Aunt Flossy lost her ring, 
scrubbin the floor. I have heard tell that he made the 
wimmin folks curry the horses. They say he had a 
big funeral. I wonder " Bill spoke wistfully, "I won 
der if I have any kinfolks on the man-side that love 
anybody but theirselves. Flossy didn t get to go off to 
school till her daddy died. She s been teachin , up to 
Barton, since my pappy married this last time, and my 
stepmother don t like her, so she never comes home." 

Jap and Bill noted that Ellis found frequent busi 
ness in Barton, and despite the inhospitable atmosphere 
of the substantial Bowers home, across the little park 
from the Herald office, Flossy came oftener than usual 
to her girlhood town. The autumn, the winter and the 
spring sped by. Ellis Hinton was too happy to scold, 
even when there was an excess of horse-play. In the 
gladsome June-tide the young girls of Bloomtown 
stripped their mothers gardens to weave garlands for 
the little church, and Judge Bowers opened his heart 
and his house for the wedding reception. 


Flossy had a dower of two thousand dollars, besides 
the cottage, a part of her father s patrimony, on one 
of the side streets, a ten-minute walk from the office. 
In her trunk were stowed away the yellow linens that 
should have served her, had a certain college friend 
proved faithful, and the wedding presents came near to 
doing the rest. This strange turn of the wheel of for 
tune landed Jap Herron in his first real home. Flossy 
could cook, and thank the kind fates, she brought some 
thing to cook with her. Flossy was a misnomer, for even 
in her salad days, she had never been the least bit 
"flossy," and when Ellis bestowed himself upon her she 
had well turned thirty. 

The Judge made Ellis a present of the office, thereby 
relieving him of the haunting fear that he might, at 
some time, demand the rent. The paper put on a new 
dress, and the hell-box was dumped full of the dis 
carded, mutilated types that had so long given strabis 
mus to the patient readers of the Bloomtown Herald. 


"TO-MORROW is Jap s birthday," announced Ellis, 
one noontide early in July. "Jap, you are a joy- 
spoiler. With the Fourth yet smoking in the air, we 
must be upset by your birthday." 

"Dad allus cussed that day," remarked Jap, wiping 
the blackberry juice from his freckled face. "Gee, I 
never guessed that there was such grub as this," regret 
fully gazing at the generous blackberry cobbler re 
gretfully, because his exhausted stomach refused to 
give another stitch. 

"Cussed it?" queried Ellis, who was beginning to 
fat up a bit. 

"He said that I was the first nail in the coffin of his 
troubles," replied Jap cheerfully. 

"How dreadfully inhuman," exclaimed Flossy, scrap 
ing the scraps to the chickens. "Well, Jappie," she 
bustled back to the dining-room where her little family 
lingered, "we are going to begin making your birthdays 
pleasant. What do you want most?" 

She had her mind s eye on the discarded ties of gor 
geous hue, bought while Ellis was courting, and still 
brand new. 



"Ca-can I have just what I want?" stuttered Jap, 

"Why, certainly, Jappie. That is, if we can afford 

"Well well," floundered Jap, astounded at his own 
temerity, "I allus wanted a pair of knee pants. Ma 
thought that some time she could get em; but the 
folks that she washed for allus kept giving her pants 
of their menfolks. I had to wear em. Can I have 
knee pants?" 

Flossy stared dazedly after Ellis, whose vision of 
Jap in knee trousers was most unsettling. Before the 
momentous request had been granted, he was already 
half way down the alley. He was still convulsed with 
laughter when he reached the side door of the Herald 
office. But his mental picture paled into dull common 
place, by comparison with the reality that was in store 
for him. 

Jap bought the cherished pants ! 

Bloomtown had seen the circus, the Methodist church 
fire and Judge Lester s funeral, the greatest in the his 
tory of the county; but none of these created the in 
terest that Jap brought out when he traveled the length 
of Spring street, rounded the corner at Blanke s drug 
store and walked solemnly along Main street to the 

Ellis was looking out of the window when he ap 
peared, and despite his effort at composure, was writh- 


ing on the floor in agony when Jap entered. Bill looked 
up, as the vision crossed the threshold, and he involun 
tarily swallowed four type he was holding in his lips 
while he adjusted a pied stickful of "More Anon s" 
communication from Pluffot. Jap was so interested 
in himself that these things passed him by. He sat sol 
emnly on his stool and looked vacantly into the e-box. 
Poking absently among the dusty types, he said, with 
profound solemnity: 

"Bill, did you ever want anything right bad?" 

Bill swallowed the last type with difficulty. It was 
the last capital Z, and they were getting five dollars 
for the announcement of Zachariah Zigler s daughter, 
Zella Zena s graduation into matrimony, and Bill had 
been picking enough Z s out of the "More Anon" to 
spell it, when the pi happened. His mind feebly recog 
nized the calamity. He stared at the apparition before 
him, too stunned by the catastrophe to apprehend Jap s 
appearance further. Jap pressed him for reply. 

"Once," he admitted gloomily. "I wanted to eat 

"Did you like em when you got them?" asked Jap 

"Naw! Tasted nasty. Never could see why folks 
keened after em." 

Jap sighed. 

"I allus wanted knee pants," he said plaintively. 
"But seems like I wa n t made for that kind of luxury. 


I ain t a bit happy, like I thought. Seems kind of 
indecent to show your legs, when you never done it 

And Jap donned his long trousers again, much to 
the relief of Bloomtown. Ellis afterward declared that 
the three-and-a-half feet of spindling legs that dangled 
along under the buckled bands of those short trousers 
were the most remarkable things he had ever seen. They 
resembled nothing more than the legs of a spring lamb, 
cavorting in knee pants, in the butcher s window. 

When we have achieved our heart s desire, we often 
taste the ashes of illusion. 

Jap did not worry further about his appearance, 
but, dressed in the neat jumpers that Flossy provided, 
he seemed content. The memory of the episode was 
beginning to lose some of its sting when Dame Fortune 
gave a mighty turn to her wheel. He was in the alley 
with Bill, playing marbles, when Wat Harlow came 
rushing out. 

"Where is Ellis?" he gasped. "There s hell afloat." 

"Ellis and Flossy have gone to Birdtown to stay till 
Monday," vouchsafed Bill. "It s goin to be big doin s 
at an anniversary, Sunday." 

"Good God!" cried Wat, "what can I do?" 

Jap arose and dusted himself. 

"Is it a dark secret?" he inquired. "Did Ellis owe 
you a bill? Lordee, man, you can find plenty more in 
your fix. Forget it." 


Wat continued to tear up and down the narrow 

"I m ruined," he groaned. "They ve got an infernal 
lie out about me, and it s going to kill me out." 

Jap was interested. 

"Maybe I know what Ellis could do," he suggested. 

"I am running for the Legislature again," Wat said, 
pacing wildly over the marbles. "The Morgan crowd 
have got it out that I sold myself to the crowd that are 
trying to lobby a bill for a big appropriation for the 
State University. The county is solid against it, and 
they will vote me out of politics forever." 

"What could Ellis do?" asked Jap, sympathetically. 

"I thought that he could print the truth in handbills 
that could be sent out. It is now Friday, and Tuesday 
is election day. There will be no chance for help after 
Monday. They would have to have time to get all over 
the county." He sat down and wiped his forehead. 

"What is your defense?" asked Jap judicially. 

"They said that I was in the headquarters of the 
University gang and I was," he said bitterly. "They 
said I shook hands with Barks and I did. They said 
that he walked with me down the steps, with his arm 
around my shoulder and he did." 

"Love of Mike !" exploded Bill, "what do you want 
to talk about it for, then?" 

"The University headquarters are in Bolton s furni 
ture store," explained Wat. "My my baby died last 


night, and I went there for her little coffin." He choked 
and walked over to the gate. After a moment he turned 
back. "Barks was there. When he found why I came, 
he walked out with me. He put his arm around my 
shoulder. He he was telling me that he buried his 
youngest, a few weeks ago. And now, while I am tied 
here, and the time is so short, Ellis is gone. And I ll 
be ruined !" 

He leaned heavily on the rickety gate. Bill wiped 
his snub nose, openly, but Jap straightened up. The 
fire of battle was in his eyes. 

"Come inside," he cried valiantly. "Ellis is gone, 
but the office is here. Come on, Bill. We have great 
things to do." 

All night long the two boys labored. After the story 
was in type, they printed it on the Washington press. 
It was Bill s suggestion that brought forth a can of 
vermilion, to lend color to the heart story. Wat was 
in and out all night, but there was no "in and out" for 
the boys. At daybreak they flung the last handbill 
upon the stack of bills and sank exhausted upon them. 
Wat carried a mail pouch full of them to the stage 
that started on its daily trip to Faber, at seven o clock, 
and the pathetic story saved the day for Legislator 

"Boys, I will never forget it," he declared. 

Ellis saw one of the badly spelled, ink-smeared 
agonies on Saturday evening, and took the next stage 


for home, wrathful enough to thrash both boys. They 
had adorned the bill with the cut that Ellis had had 
made for Johnson, the tombstone cutter, a weeping 
angel drooping its long wings over a stately head-stone. 
A rooster and two prancing stallions at the bottom pre 
saged victory for the vilified Wat. 

It was midnight when Ellis slammed the door open. 
The two boys were asleep in the midst of the litter of 
torn, ink-gaumed and otherwise spoiled copies of that 
hideous handbill. The last pull on the lever of the 
press had let it fly back too quickly, and it had flapped 
its handle loose and lay wrecked on the floor. The of 
fice had the appearance of a battleground. The ink 
was blood, and the press and scattered type, casualties. 
He stirred the boys with an angry kick. Jap sat up 
and peered through the ink over his eyes at his angry 

"We fixed him solid," he declared jubilantly. "There 
can t nothing beat Wat now. We opened the eyes 
of the county." 

"You surely did," groaned Ellis. "When the Press 
Association add to their Hall of Fame, they will shroud 
me in the folds of that dad-blamed bit of art !" 


JAP came running into the office, early in January, 
his freckled face aglow, his red hair standing wildly 

"Golly Haggins !" he exploded, "I got a letter from 
Wat. He s up at the Legislater and he writes he 
writes this !" He fairly lunged the letter at Ellis. 

Ellis read, scowling: 

"My dear young Friend, 

"I am at the Halls of Justice and I want to fill my 
promise to reward you for the noble deed you done. 
There is a chance for a bright boy as page, and I have 
spoke for it for my noble boy. Come at once. Time 
and tide won t wait, and there is thirty other boys 
camped on the trail, 

"Respectfully your Friend, 


"Whoopee!" yelled Bill, jumping from his stool and 
turning a handspring across the office. 

"Reckon I d better ask Flossy to fix my things get 
my clothes out?" asked Jap, beaming radiantly over 



the big barrel stove. He started toward the door. 

"Stop!" said Ellis, in a voice Jap had never 
heard. "You are not going." 

"Not going?" echoed both boys hollowly. 

"No!" almost shouted Ellis, his brown eyes flashing. 
"I might have expected this from that wooden-headed 
son of a lost art. Do you think that you are going to 
leave my office to lick the boots of that loafing gang 
of pie-biters ? Not in a thousand years ! I am going 
to put a tuck in that idea right now. And while I m 
talking about it, you may as well know that Flossy is 
getting ready to teach you how to read and write and 
rithmetic, as Bill says. And as for you, Bill, Flossy 
says that if your father hasn t enough pride to do the 
right thing by you, she ll give you an education, along 
with Jap. You begin your lessons to-morrow evening. 

"Jap, write to that reformed auctioneer and thank 
him for his favor. Tell him that you belong to the 
ancient and honorable order of printers. When he 
runs for governor, you will boom him. Till then, 
nothing doing in the Halls of Justice. : 

Jap sulked all day, but he wrote the letter whose 
contents might have changed his career, and the fol 
lowing evening he and Bill began the schooling that 
Flossy had planned. It was a full winter for the boys, 
the most important of their lives. Even when spring 
came, with its yawns and its drowsy fever, they begged 


that the lessons continue. Already the effect was be 
ginning to show in the galley proof. 

One morning in July, Jap had held down the office 
alone. Flossy was not well, and Ellis spent as much 
time with her as possible. Bill blustered in, a look of 
disgust in his brown eyes. 

"Ain t nothin doin in town, cept at Summers s," he 
exploded, luxuriating in the kind of speech that was 
tabooed in the presence of his elders. "Only ad I could 
scare up was at Summers s, and Ellis don t want that." 

Jap looked from the door, beyond the little village 
park and the hotel, to where the dingy white face of 
the saloon stared impudently upon the town. 

"I never see one of them places without scringin ," 
he said slowly. "My pappy almost lived in one. When 
we were cold, he was warm. When Ma and us children 
were hungry, the saloon fed him, because because he 
could be so amusing and entertaining when he was half 
drunk. Ma said that my pappy s folks were quality, 
but they didn t have any time for him. 

"I used to creep around to the side winder to see 
what kind of a drunk he had. If it was a mean one, 
I d run home and sneak Aggie out and hide. He had 
a spite agin us two, and when he had a mean drunk he 
used to beat us. He was skeered to tetch Fanny Maud. 
She had the wild-cattest temper you ever saw. He tried 
to pull her out of bed by her hair one night, and she 
jumped on him and scratched his face like a map. Ma 


had to drag her off, and if he hadn t run, Fanny would 
V got him again. After that he would brag what a 
fine girl she was. One night Aggie and me hid in a 
straw stack all night." 

Bill looked sorrowfully upon his friend. 

"I thought I was the most forsakenest boy in the 
world," he said. "But my father never beat me, and 
he never touches no kind of licker. He just don t b ke 
me around. You know my mother died when I was 
born, and somehow he seems to blame it on me. I don t 
know how to figger it, for he married in a year, and 
when that one died it didn t take him no time to start 
lookin out again. He hardly ever speaks to me, cept 
to cuss me or tell me what a nuisance I am. Allus 
makes me feel like a cabbage worm." 

"Cabbage worm?" queried Jap. 

"Yes, they turn green when they eat, and I feel like 
I am green, every bite I take. He looks at me so mean, 
like he thought I hadn t any right to eat. That s why 
I eat at Flossy s, every time she asks me. The only 
nice thing my pappy ever done for me was to put me in 
here with Ellis. Jap," he broke off suddenly, "I m durn 
glad you licked me, that day. But your hair was red !" 

Ellis had come quietly in at the rear door and had 
listened, half consciously, to the sacred confession. His 
face saddened for a moment. Then he squared his 
shoulders and his dark eyes flashed. 


"I am going to make men of those boys yet," he 
promised himself. "Who knows " 

He interrupted the spasm of painful speculation, the 
dark foreboding that had for days hovered over him. 
The heat of summer and his anxiety over Flossy were 
beginning to tell on his nerves. He tiptoed softly out 
of the back door, across the weed-grown yard and out 
through the alley gate. A moment later he came in at 
the front door, whistling blithely. 

The summer was intensely hot. As the dog-days 
waxed, Ellis grew ever more and more morose. His 
sharp bursts of temper were made tolerable only by 
the swift justice of the amend. Late in September he 
came down to the office one morning, pale and shaken. 
The boys had been sticking type for an hour when his 
sudden entrance startled them. 

"Flossy is very sick," he said with lips that quivered, 
"and I will have to trust you boys." 

Jap followed him to the door. His face was down 

"Is it true, Ellis? Bill said that Flossy would 

would " He gulped. He could not finish. Ellis 

turned suddenly and sat down at the table and buried 
his face in the pile of exchanges. His body shook with 
the effort to suppress his emotion. Bill slipped down 
from his stool and the two awkward, ungainly youths 
looked at each other in embarrassed sorrow. Finally 
Jap laid an inky hand on Ellis s shoulder. 


"Tell her tell her," he stuttered, "that Bill and me 
are are a prayin ." 

Ellis gave a mighty sob and rushed away, bare 

The two apprentices sat at their cases, the tears wet 
ting the type in their sticks. The long day dragged 
by. Neither of them remembered noon, but plodded 
stolidly and silently through the clippings on their 
copy hooks. 

It was growing dusk when a great commotion arose. 
It seemed to come from the corner near Blanke s drug 
store. It gathered force as it neared Granger s bank. 
Now it had reached the mouth of the alley that sep 
arated the bank from the Herald office. There was 
cheering and laughter. Jap s face hardened. He slung 
one leg to the floor. How dared any one cheer or 
laugh, when Flossy lay dying? 

In another instant Ellis burst into the room. His 
dark locks were rumpled, his eyes wild and bright. 

"Get out all the roosters and the stallions, too!" 
he shouted. "Open a can of vermilion and, in long 
pica, double-lead it : It is a boy ! : 

Jap let the other leg fall and dragged himself around. 
His mouth had fallen loose on its hinges. He sat down 
on the floor and gaped foolishly at Ellis. 

"She s feeling fine," babbled EUis, "and you and Bill 
are coming in the morning to see the boy." He rushed 
out again. 


Jap looked at Bill, glued to the stool, holding in one 
paralyzed hand the inverted stick. 

"Gee!" said Jap. 

In the morning they tiptoed into Flossy s room. 
Very pale and weak was the energetic little woman who 
had taken the moulding of their destinies into her 
hands. She smiled gently and, as mothers have done 
since time was, she tenderly drew back the covers from 
a tiny black head and motioned for the two to look. 

"Our boy," she said, smiling radiantly. "I am going 
to name him Jasper William, and I want you to make 
him very proud of the men he was named for." 

The hot tears sprang to Jap s eyes and fell upon the 
little red face. The wee mite, perhaps prompted by an 
angel whisper from the land from whence he came, 
threw aloft one wrinkled hand and touched him on the 
cheek. Sobbing stormily, Jap hid his face in the covers 
as he knelt beside the bed. Then he took the little 
fingers in his. 

"If God lets me live, Flossy, I will make him proud 
of me." 

He choked and dashed outside to join Bill, who was 
snubbing audibly on the back steps. After a muffled 
silence he said, his eyes growing suddenly bright: 

"Bill, did you notice what Flossy said? She said 
the men that he was named after. Bill, we ve got to 
quit kiddin and begin to grow up." 


TIME passed, after the easy-going manner of Bloom- 
town. Jap was sixteen, long, ungainly and stooped 
from bending over the case. Bill, a little older in 
months, but possessed of immortal youth, was stocky 
and rather good looking. Four years of daily inter 
course had wrought a subtle change in their relations, 
four years of the stern and the sweet that Ellis and 
Flossy Hinton had brought, for the first time, into their 

Bill was at the table, the exchanges pushed back in 
a disorderly heap, as he surreptitiously figured a tough 
problem in bookkeeping that Flossy had given him. 
Jap, with furtive air, bolted the history lesson that 
ought to have been learned the day before. Ellis, his 
back to the one big window in the office, scowled over 
the proofs he was rattling. From time to time he pep 
pered the air with remarks that fell like bird shot on 
the tough oblivion of his two assistants. At length for 
bearance gave way under the strain, and he said, in cold 
and measured tones: 

"When you are unable to decipher the idea I am 
trying to convey, I wish that you would take me into 
your confidence." 



Bill looked up, a grin on his round, shining face, a 
grin that was fixed to immobility by the fierceness of 
Ellis s glance. 

"I note that you have injected much native humor 
into perfectly legitimate prose," the stern voice con 
tinued. He read: 

" Jim Blanke has a splendid assortment of Sundays. 
Now please explain. You are causing the good folks 
of this town unnecessary worry. My copy reads, sun 
dries. " 

"Jap done it," vouchsafed Bill. 

"Who done this?" Ellis stressed the verbal blunder 
witheringly, as he pointed his pencil at the next item. 
It read: 

"Ross Hawkins soled twenty-five yearling calves." 

"It looked that way," argued Jap. 

"A devil of a couple you are," declared Ellis wrath- 
fully. "Can t either of you reason? Did you ever 
hear of any one soling a yearling calf? Ross Hawkins 
is an auctioneer, not a shoemaker." 

The boys looked sheepishly at each other. Suddenly 
Bill flung himself on his stomach and howled in glee. 

"Lordee! What if that had V got in the paper!" 
he gasped. 

"There would be two fine, large, lazy boys out of a 
job," Ellis said severely. 

He threw aside the copy and lifted the type. Jap 


followed the movement with anxious eye. Another ex 
plosion hung, tense and imminent, in the air. 

"Have you washed that type yet, Bill?" he asked, 
eager to placate Ellis. 

It was the custom for the boy nearest the door to 
disappear when the time for washing a form was at 

"It was your job," protested Bill. "You promised 
to wash Wat Harlow s speech if I cleaned Kelly Jones s 
stock bill." 

Ellis sat down wearily. 

"Oh, we re agoing to do it all, this evening," cried 
Bill, defiantly. "You promised that we could clean 
out that box of cuts. You promised a long time ago." 

"Go to it," said Ellis, his voice relaxing, and the two 
boys bolted into the back room. A little later he 
joined them. Jap and Bill sat on the floor, blowing 
the dust from a lot of dirty old woodcuts. 

"I bought them with the job," he said, turning the 
pile over with his foot. He sat down on the emptied 
box and watched them as they examined the cuts. 

"What is this?" asked Jap, peering at the largest 
block in the lot. 

"That is a cut of the town, as it was when I came 
here," said Ellis, a shadow of reminiscence crossing his 
face, as he took the block in his long fingers. 

Bill drew himself to his knees and looked at the maze 


of lines and depressions curiously. The picture was as 
strange to him as it was to Jap. Ellis continued: 

"There were three business houses here, besides the 
blacksmith shop and the saloon. Here they are. Ezra 
Bowers, Bill s grandfather, with the help of his three 
sons, ran a general store where they sold everything 
from castor oil to mowing machines. Phineas Blome 
an unmistakable son of old Jerusalem sold clothing 
and more castor oil and mowing machines. There 
wasn t such a thing as a butcher shop in Bloomtown. 
When the natives wanted fresh meat, they ordered it 
brought out on the hack. In other parts of the world, 
that institution is sometimes called a stage ; but here I 
learned that its right name is hack. The southern 
terminus of the Bloomtown, Barton and Faber hack- 
line, that has done its best for thirty years to prevent 
us from being entirely marooned, was over there at the 
south side of Blome s Park, exactly as it is to-day. 
The hotel didn t have a bit more paint, the first night 
I slept in it, than it has now." 

"Flossy said that weathered shingles were fashion 
able," Bill grinned, taking up another cut. "Here s 
the Public Square you call it Blome s Park, but I 
never heard anybody else call it that," he added, his 
voice lifting in a note of query. "That s the Square, 
all right, and the Town Hall, with leven horses hitched 
in front of it." 

"Yes, when old man Blome laid out his farm in town 


lots, he reserved his woods pasture for a city park. 
You never heard of an orthodox town that didn t begin 
with a Public Square, and that little rocky glade with 
the wet-weather spring had the only trees within ten 
miles of here. It wasn t fit for farming, so Blome 
argued that nobody would buy it with a view to raising 
garden track. But your foxy Uncle Blome didn t sac 
rifice anything by his generosity to the town that was 
about to be born. He reserved the lots facing the park 
on three sides, and held them at an exorbitant figure 
as much as five dollars a front foot, I should say. 

"The lots at the north and east were to be sold for 
high-class residences only. Those at the west were 
reserved for business houses. Behold the embryo Main 
street ! Overlooking the park at the south was Blome s 
farm house, since metamorphosed into a tavern and 
barns for the stage horses. The last of the Blomes 
shook the dust of Bloomtown from his feet when Carter 
bought his interest in the hack line. Bill s grandfather 
had a farm adjoining Blome s land at the west; but 
Ezra Bowers, merchant prince and attorney-at-law," 
he said whimsically, "had to have a residence in the 
fashionable quarter, fronting the park. A little patch 
of the old farm is quite good enough for Mr. and Mrs. 
Ellis Hinton and their two sons, Jap and Jasper Wil 

Jap caught Ellis s hand, a lump arising in his throat. 
Bill relieved the momentary tension by turning over 


another cut. A familiar face looked out at him from 
the grime of years. Ellis glanced at it and smiled. 

"It is a great thing, Jap, the birth of a town. Bloom- 
town was really never born. The stork dropped her 
when he was traveling for a friendly haven. For ten 
years she lay, just as she fell, without visible signs of 
life. About twenty families existed, somehow. They 
had pigs, chickens and garden truck, and to all intents 
they would go on existing till the last trump. 

"One day I went out into the country to attend a 
sale. Boys, I was never so well pleased with a day s 
work as I was with that day s jaunt. I heard the most 
masterly bit of eloquence that ever came from the lips 
of an auctioneer. The man had the crowd hypnotized. 
He even sold me an accordion, a thing I was born to 
hate. The fact that it was wind-broken and rattly 
never occurred to me until I woke up, after he had done. 
Then I went to him and said: 

" You an auctioneer ! You should be in the Halls 
of Justice, telling the people how to interpret their 

"The idea struck him. He came into town with me 
and we talked the matter over. He was easily the best 
known and most liked man in the county. It was then 
that the political bug stung our good friend, Wat Har- 
low. Wat moved his family to town and soon he had 
a decent habitation. He stimulated a rain of paint 
and a hail of shingle nails. He prodded the older in- 


habitants to an era of wooden pavements and stone 
crossings. Bill s grandfather objected, because he 
said it cut down the sale of rubber hip-boots ; but Wat s 
eloquence was the key to fit anything that tried to lock 
the wheels of progress. He did more than that. He 
brought Jim Blanke from Leesburg to start a decent 
drug store. 

"After that he robbed Barton of Tom Granger, and 
together they started the first bank of Bloomtown. 
Granger s wife and baby, with Wat s wife, were the 
civilization. Mrs. Granger was almost an invalid, even 
then, but she gathered the women together and formed 
an aid society. She begged and cajoled Bowers out of 
enough money to build a little church on the lot that 
Blome had donated. I joined the church, for the moral 
example. I don t remember what denomination it was 
supposed to be. We had services once a month; but 
Mrs. Granger was the real power in the town. She 
introduced boiled shirts and neckties. Tom bought 
the big patch of ground, north of the park, and set out 
those elm trees before his foundation was in. Then 
Jim Blanke got Otto Kraus to come here and start a 
private school. Otto played the little cabinet organ 
in church, and taught all the children music, after 
school hours. Thus was Bloomtown born. Wat Har- 
low made the blood circulate in her moribund veins." 

Jap looked into Ellis s face, his freckled cheeks glow 


"That s not what Wat Harlow said," he declared 

"What did he say?" asked Ellis sharply. 

"Why why," gulped Jap, "he said that Bloomtown 
was dead as a herring, and too no-account to be buried, 
till Ellis Hinton came and jerked her out of the mud 
and started her to breathe." 

Ellis got up and dusted his trousers. 

"As I said before, Wat was an eloquent auctioneer. 
Talk is his trade, and he keeps in practice. Dilute his 
enthusiasm one-half, Jap. And now, get to work, wash 
ing up." 

As he left the office he encountered a group of tit 
tering girls, in front of the bank. They scattered when 
they perceived that Ellis and not Bill had come forth. 
Bill was the lion of the town. Already the girls had 
begun to come after papa s paper, on publishing day, 
which upset the machinery of the office, never too de 

One Thursday when the air was full of snow, the little 
office registered its capacity crowd. Ellis was at home 
with a heavy cold, and Jap and Bill were getting out 
the paper. The ink congealed on the rollers and needed 
constant warming to lubricate the items reposing on 
the bosom of the Washington press. This warming 
was Bill s job, and Jap was exasperated to fighting 
pitch by the dilatory method of Bill s peregrinations 


around the circle of rosy-faced girls, hanging admir 
ingly on his efforts. 

"Chase those girls out," he growled. "No use for 
them to hang around. We won t get this paper out in 
a week if they stick around after you." 

"Old Crabby !" sniffed one of the girls. "You re just 
mad because nobody wants to hang after you." 

"Jap is particular," chaffed Bill, half apologetically. 
Since they had assumed the responsibility for the right 
uplift of Flossy s boy, there had been growing a new, 
shy pride in themselves. "Better wait and come back 
in the morning," he suggested. 

The girls filed slowly out. As they passed the table, 
where Jap was piling the papers to fold, Isabel 
Granger, doubtless inspired by the demon of mischief, 
leaned forward suddenly and kissed him full on the 
mouth. Then she fled, shrieking with glee. Jap stood as 
if stricken to stone. Bill looked at him in fright. There 
was no color in his freckled face. His gray eyes were 
staring, as if some wonderful vision had blasted his sight. 

"Gee, Jap," said Bill uneasily, "are you sick?" 

Jap aroused himself and turned toward the press. 

"No," he said slowly, "but I don t like for folks to 
be familiar like that. If I wanted to be a fool like 

you " He stopped and stared a moment from the 


"The next time she kisses me," he said shortly, "she 
will mean it." 


WHAT a wonderful thing is a baby ! Babies were not 
new to either Bill or Jap. In Bill s memory lingered 
the shrill duet of his twin half-sisters, a continuous 
performance that had lasted more than a year. And 
Jap had never fully corrected a lurch to the left side, 
due to carrying his sister, Agnesia, when he was little 
more than a baby himself. Yet the little visitor from 
the Land of Yesterday was a never failing miracle to 
them. His cry filled them with fear for his well-being, 
and his laugh intoxicated them with its glee. 

"Wait till he can talk," smiled Flossy. "Then you 
will see how wise he is." 

In her heart she was beginning to combat the fear 
that he would never talk. Other children of his age 
were already chattering like magpies. 

"Ma said that I said papa when I was eight months 
old," declared Jap. "But I don t know why I should 
a said that." 

Bill grinned fatuously as the baby pulled at his hair. 

"Bill won t get his hair cut," said Jap. "He knows 
that J. W. would hang after me, if it wasn t for his 
curly hair." 


The little fellow, who for obvious reasons could be 
neither Jasper nor William, had learned to respond 
with amiable toleration to the soothing abbreviation, 
"J. W." Kicking his stubby legs gleefully, he tangled 
his fingers more mercilessly in Bill s brown locks. 
Flossy loosed the fingers gently, as she cooed : 

"Naughty, naughty ! Mamma said baby mustn t." 

Flinging his fingers aloft in protest, he gurgled: 

"Ja Bi!" 

Flossy s eyes shone with sudden joy. It was her 
son s first attempt at articulate speech. The boys 
lunged forward with one impulse. 

"He said Jappie, " Jap cried, his chest swelling 
with the importance of it. Bill glared. 

"Why, Jap !" Pain and indignation were in his tone. 
"He tried to say Bill. " 

Flossy smiled on them both. It was a wonderful little 
kingdom, of which she had assumed the place of abso 
lute monarch, a monarch so gentle and so just that 
her sway was never questioned. 

"Ellis puts in half his time trying to teach baby to 
say the two names all in one mouthful, so that you boys 
won t fight about his first word," she vouchsafed. "It 
would have to be either Jap or Bill, because you never 
tell him anything but your names." 

When they waved their caps in farewell, they were 
still discussing the mooted question vehemently. Was 
it "Jappie," or a combination of Jap and Bill? To 


both of them the question was vital. Jap had the bet 
ter of the argument, when Bill blurted: 

"Anyhow, he s my cousin, and he ain t no relation of 
yours." Then he remembered that significant remark 
of Ellis s : "A little patch of the old farm is quite good 
enough for Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Hinton and their two 
sons, Jap and Jasper William," and he was silent the 
rest of the way back to the office. 

Little J. W. was three years old before he could 
speak distinctly. The child was born with other af 
flictions than the serious impediment to his speech, and 
the four who hung with anguished love on his every 
gesture were never free from a certain unnamed anxiety. 
He loved Bill, but he worshipped Jap. Both were his 
willing slaves. 

One rainy, dismal night in early fall, when Bill s step 
mother lay seriously ill, Flossy left her baby to the care 
of the small but usually capable maid who assisted her 
with the work of the cottage, while she and Ellis went 
to the home of Judge Bowers to relieve the trained 
nurse who had come up from the city. At the supper 
table, Ellis had remarked that Jap and Bill would be 
working late that night, in order to get out a job that 
had come in when all the resources of the office were 
needed for the weekly edition of the Herald. He had 
added that he would go over and help them, if his pres 
ence could be spared from the sick-room. 

The remark must have lodged in the baby s mind, 


for he slipped out of bed, while the maid was employed 
in the kitchen, and toddled through the cold rain almost 
all the way to Main street. Jim Blanke found him ly 
ing exhausted in the road, a little way from the drug 
store, the rain beating pitilessly on his unconscious 
head and his scantily clad body. 

After a night of anxious care, the little fellow re 
lapsed into a state of coma, and lay for hours, white 
and still, save for the rasping of his breath. The of 
fice was closed. Both boys, frantic with fear, stood 
with Ellis as the child lay in his mother s arms, the 
four dreading that each hoarse breath would be his 
last. Flossy sat erect in the wide rocking chair, her 
brave eyes watching every sigh that tore the little bosom. 
Dr. Hall, whose dictum was life and death, was silent. 
And this silence was the last straw for Jap. He crept 
nearer. In fear, he turned from the face of the be 
loved sufferer. Ellis caught the look in the boy s an 
guished eyes, and a spasm crossed his tightly com 
pressed lips. The physician rallied himself from the 
torpor of despair that had laid hold on him. 

"Try to arouse him," he commanded. "Try again." 
The resources of his experience and his prescription 
blank had long since been exhausted. 

Flossy bent over her child and called softly: 

"Baby, dearest, mamma loves you. Won t you 

Ellis leaned forward. His face blanched. The rasp- 


ing had ceased! Jap caught the look of horror, and 
dragged himself up to look into the baby s face. 

"He isn t dead! He s all right!" he shrieked, not 
knowing that he spoke. "He s still breathing. I can 
hear him." His hands grasped the cold body and 
lifted it, unconscious of the thing he was doing. 

"Oh, J. W.! Oh, J. W.!" he screamed, "don t go 
away from us !" 

He pressed the child to his breast convulsively, and 
the miracle happened. The solemn black eyes opened 
and a husky voice said, "Jappie." 

After the excitement was over, and the exhausted 
mother slept beside her sleeping child, Bill said humbly: 

"He did say Jap first." 

"But he tried to say Bill, too," Jap said loyally. 

The next morning, when the office had resumed its 
normal routine, a routine that was destined to be only 
partially interrupted by the death of Bill s second step 
mother, a few days later, Ellis called Jap into the little 
back room where, in the dismal days before Flossy s 
coming, they had performed all the functions of house 
keeping. He closed the door, as he laid his hand on 
Jap s shoulders. 

"You saved J. W. s life," he said solemnly. "Doc 
Hall said that you stopped him, on the threshold, when 
you gave that dreadful cry." 

The baby did not rally, and Ellis worried about this 
incessantly. One day, some weeks after another mound 


had been added to the group in Judge Bowers s family 
lot, and Bill had gone with his father to appraise the 
merits of a prospective housekeeper from Birdtown, 
Ellis looked up from the proof he was correcting. Jap 
noted the anxiety in his face, and the gray eyes, that 
could so often render speech unnecessary, put the ques 
tion. Ellis sighed. 

"He s not getting along the way he ought to," he 
mused. "Doc Hall prescribed a tonic for him a month 
ago ; but it doesn t seem to take hold. He has no 
constitution to begin with. His father, exhausted by 
privation and ill-health, has handicapped him in the 

"Jap," he said, as he arose and laid one arm con 
fidingly around the boy s shoulder, "you must remem 
ber that, in the years to come. I didn t give the baby 
a fair chance. He may need all the help he can get 
to carry him through. If you should live longer than 
I, you must be his father and big brother, both." 

Jap s gray eyes opened in astonishment. The idea 
that there could ever be a time when Ellis would not 
be there had never entered his mind. He looked into 
the dark, thin face with its pallor and its unnaturally 
bright eyes, and a joyous smile took the place of the 
momentary shock. 

"Doc Hall said that you had grit enough to outlive 
any disease that ever lurked in the brush of Bloom- 
town," he declared eagerly. 


"Doc Hall is an optimist," Ellis laughed hollowly. 
"I m not so much concerned for myself as for the boy 
and his mother. You know what J. W. means to her." 

"Bill and I have already talked it over," Jap re 
turned. "We re going to be big brothers to J. W. 
We re going to take turns at taking him for long rides 
on Judge Bowers s old horse, Jeremiah. Doc Hall said 
that long, jolty rides would set him up, rosy and fat, 
in a little while. Bill told me this morning that he 
had J. W. weighed again, on Hollins s scales, and he has 
gained three pounds." 

Ellis Hinton s face cleared. There was a new elas 
ticity in his step as he crossed the room and laid the 
copy down on the case. Unconsciously he began to 
whistle, as he clicked the type in the stick. 


FLOSSY came into the office, leading the boy by the 
hand, and called Ellis aside. Old Jeremiah had done 
wonders for the little fellow; but on Flossy Hinton s 
face there was a look that boded ill to some one. 

"I sent for Brother William to meet me here," she 
said crisply. "I want you to back up all that I say." 

Before Ellis had breathed twice, she was out looking 
up the street, and in less time than you could think 
it out, she was back, towing the Judge, who puffed ex 
plosively. Ellis and the three boys had retreated to the 
rear office. 

"There is not a bit of use to argue, William," she 
said, her lips in a hard, straight line. "Ellis has done 
more than any one else in town could do. When I heard 
that you had subscribed five thousand dollars to the 
new church, I concluded that your charity was a little 
far fetched. Now I want you to subscribe five thou 
sand dollars to the institution that is making a man of 
your son. I want five thousand dollars for the printing 
office. It is too small, and the press is out of date. We 
need all that goes into an up-to-date printing office." 

Her brother looked upon her tolerantly. 



"Keep it up, Floss. It never fazed you to ask favors, 
and you ain t run down yet." 

"It s a shame," she stormed. "Just look at this little 
shed! Why, even a cross-road blacksmith shop is 

He looked around appraisingly. 

"I reckon it ll house all Ellis s business," he com 

"Ellis," she flashed, "tell William about the rail 

Ellis came from the inside office. He generally with 
drew from the conferences between Flossy and her 

"Wat Harlow told me that two of the big railroad 
systems have entered into a joint arrangement to short 
en their mileage, on through trains to the West. He s 
got it all fixed for the new track to pass through 
Bloomtown. It will give us all the benefit of two rail 

"You see," said Flossy triumphantly, "the town 
will boom. People will move in, and a first-class news 
paper will be the greatest asset." 

"I think that the town will take a big start," assured 
Ellis. "The boys will have all they can do with job 
work, and the office is small for our present needs." 

"Pap, you should watch us carving letters when we 
get short," interposed Bill. "Last week Jap had to 
carve three A s for Allen s handbill. There are only 


three of em in that case, and Allen wanted to use six. 
His name is Pawhattan Abram Allen, and he wanted 
the whole blamed thing spelled out in caps. I told Jap 
it was lucky Allen s folks didn t name him Aaron, on 
top of all the rest." 

"That s good practice for you boys," the Judge 
snorted. "I m mighty glad you learned something for 
all the money I spent on you." He glanced at his sis 
ter witheringly ; but Flossy had her eyes fixed on her 

"I wish," Ellis stirred himself to say, "that the town 
would boom enough to take all these frame shacks off 
of Main street, so that the place wouldn t look like a 
settlement of campers." 

"A good fire would help," commented Bill boldly. 

Judge Bowers looked over his glasses at his son. 

"Well, when the railroad comes, and the rest of the 
shacks are moved out, I will write you a check for five 
thousand dollars," he snorted, turning his rotund form 
out of the door. 

Flossy picked up the boy and flounced out, in speech 
less indignation. By argument and cajolery she had 
succeeded in getting six months apiece for Bill and Jap 
at the School of Journalism, and at twenty the boys 
were far more expert than Ellis was when he began the 
publication of the Herald. She had set her heart on 
the new printing office, and her eyes were abrim with 
tears as she stumbled home. 


The week wore on until printing day. It was a day 
of unimagined exasperations. Everything went wrong. 
Ellis s usually smooth temper bent under the stormy 
comments of the boys, and in the late afternoon he 
developed a violent headache and went home. Things 
continued to pile up until it was evident that the boys 
would have to print the paper after dark. 

It was ten o clock when they finished. Jap followed 
Bill to the pavement, pausing to lock the door and slip 
the key in his pocket. The town was asleep. Not a 
soul was to be seen on Main street. Bill, who usually 
took the short cut across the Public Square to his 
father s house, turned with Jap and walked along Main 
street to the farther end of the block. At Blanke s 
drug store, he turned into Spring street. He was say 
ing, in a tone of mixed penitence and anxiety : 

"I wish we hadn t riled Ellis so, to-day. I don t 
like those headaches he s having so often, and the way 
his face gets red every afternoon. If he ever sneaked 
out and took a drink But I know he never does." 

"Oh, Ellis is all right, now that little J. W. is get 
ting strong," Jap insisted. 

They had gone some distance in the direction of 
Flossy s cottage, when Bill looked across an expanse 
of vacant lots to where a dim light burned in the loft 
of Bolton s barn. 

"They re running a poker game," said Bill wisely. 

Almost before the words were gone, a wild shriek rent 


the air. A flash of light from the barn loft, a scram 
bling of feet, and a succession of dark objects cata 
pulted the ooze of the barnyard, and it was all ablaze. 
A stiff breeze was blowing from the southwest. Bill 
ran to the mill to set the fire whistle, and Jap scrambled 
through a window of the Methodist church and began 
to fling the chimes abroad, so that he who slept might 
know that there was a fire in town. There had been 
no rain for weeks, and the frame structures were ripe 
for burning. 

In less than half an hour the row of stores on Main 
street, in the block below the Herald office, began to 
smoke. From Hollins s grocery store a brand was car 
ried by the wind and lodged among the dry shingles of 
Summers s saloon. The excitement was augmented, a 
few minutes later, by a series of pyrotechnic explosions. 
Bucket brigades were formed, the firemen mostly in 
undress uniform. 

Jap and Bill were in their glory. Jap was mounted 
on top of the Town Hall, directing operations. Right 
down the row rushed the flames, eating up the town. 
As if in parting salutation, the fiery monster leaped 
across a vacant lot, thick set with dried weeds, and 
clutched with heat-red claws at the Herald office. 

"This way, men!" yelled Jap. "You have to get 
the press and enough type out to tell about the fire." 

Ellis was staring hopelessly at the flame that was 
licking at the rear of the office. The water was ex- 


hausted from the town well, and there was no hope of 
saving the plant. But youth is omniscient, and the 
townsmen followed the wildly yelling apprentices and 
hastened to demolish the office and drag away the 
debris, some of it already blazing. From the salvage 
rescued from Price s hardware store, and heaped in 
a disorderly pile in the Public Square, Jap handed out 
the latest thing in fire fighting apparatus. The flimsy 
structure, that had been Ellis Hinton s stronghold for 
almost twenty years, gave way to an assault with axes, 
and the contents, pretty well scattered, were left stand 
ing. It was nothing that Granger and Harlow s bank 
went down with little left to show its location save 
the fire-proof vault, and that only a shift in the wind 
prevented the flames from crossing to the fashionable 
residence section east of Main street. 

In the morning the Herald force began business in 
the ruins of its time-worn shelter, and set up gory ac 
counts of the fire, on brown manila paper with ver 
milion and black ink. A crowd assembled to watch 
the exciting spectacle. 

"What s the use of a railroad now?" bleated Judge 
Bowers. "There ain t no town to run it through." 

"Why ain t there?" asked Jap sharply. 

"Why, all the folks are talking of pulling up stakes 
and moving to Barton." 

"Well, if that is the kind of backbone they have been 
backing this town with," snapped the youth, his red 


hair standing erect, "you help them move, and the 
Herald will show them up for quitters and fill the 
town with real men." 

And being full of wrath, he proceeded to incorporate 
this thought in the half column he was setting up. The 
paper was eagerly snapped up by the crowd. 

"Who wrote this?" fairly howled Tom Granger. "I 
want to hold his grimy hand and help him shout for 
a bigger and better town." 

Ellis shoved Jap forward. 

"Here is the fire-eater," he announced. Jap flushed 
through the dirt on his face. 

"It s true," he said, half shyly. "There s no good 
in a quitter. The best thing is to smoke them out and 
get live men to take their places." 

"Bravely said," shouted Granger. "The bank will 
rebuild with brick. Who else builds on Main street?" 

Before the end of the following week the town was 
humming with industry. Every hack brought its con 
tingent of insurance adjusters, and merchants elbowed 
contractors in the little telegraph office, in endeavors to 
get supplies. On Thursday a curious crowd stood 
watching Ellis and the boys run the blistered but still 
faithful Washington press in the boiling sun. 

"Goin to get winter after a while, Jap," shouted one 
of the bystanders. "You ll have to wear ear muffs to 
get out your paper." 


Jap grinned and swung the lever around method 

"What are you going to do, Ellis?" asked the hon 
orable member from the "Halls of Justice," who had 
hurried to his little home town in her hour of trouble. 
"There ain t a vacant shack in town. It seems a 
darned shame that you ll have to give up, after starv 
ing with the town till it gets its toes set in gravel at 
last. Now that the railroad is running this way like a 
scared wolf, the town needs a paper worse than ever." 

"Who said they was going to quit?" demanded Judge 
Bowers pugnaciously. "They ain t! Ellis is goin to 
have a two-story brick, with a printin press that runs 
itself. This here town ain t no quitter." He glared 
fiercely at Harlow. 

Jap lingered with Ellis until the last of the day s 
work was finished. As he started for home he came 
upon an animated group, in the shade of the half- 
burned drug store. Behind a pile of wreckage, Bill was 
holding court. Jap stopped short. Bill was telling a 
lurid tale of superhuman strength and dare-devil 
bravery, of which Jap Herron was the hero, a tale that 
grew with every telling. A wave of embarrassment 
swept over Jap. As he turned hastily away, he felt a 
soft clutch on his arm. He looked back. Two spar 
kling black eyes were looking up into his. 

"I think that you are the bravest boy in the world," 


whispered Isabel Granger, "and and I am glad I 
kissed you that time." 

Jap stared at her, stunned by a new emotion. In 
another moment she was gone, flying across the street 
in the direction of her home. 

"Anybody but Jap would a took her up on that," 
insinuated Bill, who had heard Isabel s last words. 

Jap turned a murderous look upon him. The crowd 
of girls tittered as they dispersed. When supper was 
over Jap returned to the spot, and long after dark he 
sat upon the pile of wreckage, thinking long, long 


THE scraping of saw, the clang of hammer and the 
smell of fresh paint classed Bloomtown as "Boomtown." 
The railroad had already peered into the northern en 
virons of the town, cutting diagonally across Main 
street, some half-dozen blocks from the plot of ground 
that had been rechristened Court House Square. A 
substantial municipal building took the place of the 
dingy old Town Hall, and the barns of the now almost 
defunct Bloomtown, Barton and Faber hack line had 
been cleared away to make room for a decent hotel. In 
the angle between the railroad tracks and Main street 
a small temporary station sheltered travelers. The 
half-moribund village had burst its swaddling bands 
and begun to expand. Everybody was wearing grins 
as a radiant garment. 

As the summer traveled toward July, the headaches 
that had been so frequent the past winter merged into 
a feeling of utter exhaustion, and Ellis came down to 
the office but few days of each week. Flossy stopped 
Jap at the gate one noon hour. 

"Ellis has something to tell you, Jappie, and I want 
you to be very composed. Don t let yourself go." Her 



voice was full of pleading. She turned quickly as 
Ellis appeared in the doorway. He walked out to meet 

"Let us sit out under the trellis while Flossy finishes 
fixing dinner," he said, leading the way. "Jap, your 
birthday comes to-morrow, and I am going to ask you 
to accept a sacred trust that is a burden. You are 
twenty-one and, as they say, your own man. I want 
to ask you to be my man. Jap, I am going away, how 
far God only knows. The doctor says that my lungs 
are all wrong, and life in the mountains may save me. 
My boy for you have been my boy since you walked 
through my door, nine years ago I want you to take 
charge of the office, and shoulder the support of Flossy 
and the little one if if He caught the horror- 

stricken boy s hand. "Jap, I will never come back. I 
know it. I have talked with my soul and it is well. 
Will you do it, Jap?" 

Jap pressed Ellis s feverish hand between his strong 
young palms. He could not speak. His eyes were dry 
and his lips twitched. 

"There," cautioned Ellis, "no heavy face before 
Flossy. God bless her! she thinks that I will be well 
before the new office is done, and is making more splen 
did plans for the big opening! She is Jap, you 

dunce, grin about something!" 

Flossy and the boy came dancing down the sun- 


flecked path and Jap swung the slender little fellow to 
his shoulder and began a mock race from Ellis. 

As soon as dinner was over, a dinner that stuck in his 
throat for hours, he told Flossy that two men were 
rushing Bill to desperation for their handbills. He 
hurried out by way of the alley. Flossy ran after him. 

"You forgot your hat, Jap," she cried breathlessly. 

He took the hat and started off silently. 

"Wait a minute, Jap." Her voice was insistent. 
"You didn t put on a grave face with Ellis, did you? 
Oh, Jap" the cry was from her heart "he will never 
live to see the new office ! He will never know of the 
realization of his dreams, the big town, the trains whirl 
ing through, and he looking down from his lofty win 
dow with a smile of superior joy. Oh, Jap, how often 
have we heard him tell about it ! He doesn t know. 
He is full of hope. Only just before you came he was 
joking about the Star Spangled Banner he was going 
to wind around his brow when he dedicated the Herald 
office. Jap, be true to his faith, for he will never open 
the door of that office. He will never help to get out 
the first paper." 

She strangled and turned away. Then in brisk tones 
she added: 

"Now, Jap, hurry along. Here comes Ellis to scold." 
And in the marvelous manner that is God-given to lov 
ing women, she forced a smile to her lips as she gave 


the youth a playful shove and ran to meet her hus 

A few days later they left. The town took a holi 
day, and with laughter and merrymaking it celebrated 
Ellis Hinton s first vacation. A water tank was in 
process of construction, at the upper end of a half- 
mile stretch of double track, and at the lower end of 
the siding, close to Main street, the imposing brick 
railroad station stood in potential grandeur, its bricks 
still separated by straw and its ample foundation giving 
promise of stability as it reposed in sacks of cement and 
piles of crushed stone. Something of this was incor 
porated in Ellis s farewell speech as he addressed his 
townspeople. When the train began to move his black 
head was still visible, as he returned quip for joke. 
And Flossy was flitting from her lifelong friends as if 
no trouble clouded her brow. 

Little J. W. was the feature of the going, and under 
the pretense of caring for his wants, their sleeper com 
partment had been piled with fruit and flowers by lov 
ing friends who had gone on to the nearest town to 
meet the train, so that the surprise should be the more 
complete. Then, to the sound of the village band, Ellis 
left what he had always called "my town." Jap did 
not go to the station, and when Bill found the door of 
their improvised office locked, he turned silently away. 
His heart was full, too. 

The Widow Raymond had offered them a room for 


a printing office. The press occupied the room. Jap 
and Bill set the type in the woodshed and carried the 
galleys in. During the nine years of their association 
Bill had been the unsteady member of the team, con 
suming more effort in devising ways and means of es 
caping work than the work would have cost, and toiling 
with feverish penitence when he realized that he had 
wrought a hardship to Jap or Ellis. But now, inspired 
by the dimpled face of Rosy Raymond, he worked as 
he had never worked in his life. Odd things began to 
happen. Bill insisted on doing all the proof-reading, a 
task he had hitherto detested. A bit of verse occa 
sionally crept into the columns of the Herald. Jap 
did not detect this verse for several weeks. When he 
did, he descended upon Bill. 

"Where in Heck did you filch that doggerel?" 

"Who said it was doggerel?" demanded Bill. 

"Lord love you," cried Jap, "what could any sane 
being call it? What did you get for publishing it 
advertising rates?" 

"You re a fool!" snapped Bill. "You think that 
you re a criterion. I will have you know that lots of 
folks have complimented it." 

Jap took up the offending sheet. 

" Thine eyes are blue, thine lips are red, thine locks 
are gold, " he groaned. He looked at Bill. Just then 
the door opened and Rosy stepped into the room. A 
great light shone on Jap s understanding. Her eyes 


were blue, her lips certainly red, and a fervid imagination 
could call her hair gold. He sighed pathetically. 

"Bill, don t you think you could write it out and 
relieve the pressure on your heart, without endanger 
ing our prestige?" 

Bill kicked at the mongrel dog that had its habitat 
under the press, and marched out indignantly. 

"I ll be glad if I get him out of here single," mused 
Jap. "He has these spells as regular as the seasons 
change. Heretofore his prospects have never entitled 
him to consideration. This time it may be different." 

Bill had been systematically chased from every front 
gate in town, behind which rosy-cheeked girls abode ; but 
the disquieting conviction swooped down upon Jap that 
Barkis, in the shape of the Widow Raymond, might be 
more than "willin " to hitch Bill to her sixteen-year-old 
daughter. And if Bill had not contracted a new va 
riety of measles at the most opportune time, Jap s fore 
bodings might have been realized. Bill had the "catch 
ing" habit. No contagion in town ever escaped him, 
and this time he was so ill that he had to go to the coun 
try to recuperate. 

The new stores opened, one by one, with much cele 
bration. Owing to several unaccountable financial com 
plications, the last of all the important buildings on 
Main street to be finished was the Herald office. A cyl 
inder press, second-handed, to be sure, but none the 
less an object of admiration, was installed, and fonts of 


clean, new type stood ready for work. There was a 
great, sunny front office on the main floor, and the 
ample space behind it had been divided into composing 
room, press room and private office. On the second 
floor was a small job press, and here, at Jap s sugges 
tion, the old Washington press was stored. The rooms 
were decorated with flags, and bunting was strung 
across the front of the office. Judge Bowers had per 
sonally attended to this. 

"You re going to have a dandy paper," Tom Gran 
ger beamed, as he accompanied Jap on the final tour of 
inspection. "We ll all have to stop business to watch 
this cylinder press spill out the news." 

Wat Harlow had run down from the Capital to con 
gratulate the staff. At his suggestion the merchants 
had ordered flowers from the city, and great vases of 
roses and carnations, and decorative pieces in symbolic 
design, stood around in fragrant profusion. Every 
room of the office was filled with them. 

The forms were ready for the printing of that first 
paper, and only awaited the conclusion of Wat s speech, 
to be placed upon the press, so that Bloomtown should 
receive the salutatory Herald. Jap turned to the as 
semblage, waiting in eager curiosity to see the cylinder 

"The paper will be printed on Ellis s press," he said 
briefly. "I don t want to be ungrateful for your kind- 


ness, but will you leave Bill and me alone to get out our 
first edition?" 

They filed out slowly, awed by the grief in the voice 
of Ellis s boy. 

With the old types, on the old Washington hand 
press, they printed the first Herald of the new regime. 
With the exception of the greeting on the front page, 
every word was reprinted from the predictions written 
by Ellis in the years agone, and the greeting, in long 
pica on the first page, was his telegram to them and his 
townsmen received that morning. 

When the last paper was printed by the two sad- 
faced boys on their day of jubilee, and the pile had 
been folded and carried downstairs, Jap closed the 
press upon the inky type, and gathered the great 
bunches of fragrant blossoms and heaped them upon 
the press, to be forever silent. With a groan of an 
guish, he threw himself against them. Bill slipped his 
arm through Jap s, and together they celebrated the 
day that was Ellis s. And in the night the telegram 

"At rest. FLOSSY." 


WHEN Ellis went away it was to the sound of jollity. 
He came back to a town shrouded in mourning. Every 
store was closed, and symbols of grief adorned most of 
them. Wat Harlow, with a delicacy Ellis would scarce 
ly have expected of him, had ordered purple ribbon and 
white flowers to tie with the crape. Silent and grief- 
stricken, the town stood waiting the arrival of the 
train. When it came, the coffin was lifted by loving 
hands and carried the ten long blocks to the church. 
No cold hearse rattled his precious body, but, even as 
the body of Robert Louis Stevenson was held by human 
touch until the last office was done, so was Ellis Hinton, 
the country printer, carried to his last repose by the 
hands of his friends. 

Not until Jap looked for a long, anguished moment 
upon the flower-massed grave did he realize that he was 
alone, that he was drifting, that he had no anchor. 
Something of this he expressed to Flossy, between dry 
sobs, when they had left Ellis alone in the secluded little 
cemetery. Her eyes burned with a strange, maternal 
light as she comforted the boy whose grief was of the 
fibre of her own. 



"Ellis knew that you would feel that way," she said 
gently, "and because of that, he made a will that is to 
be read to-night. Wat Harlow has it. Until it is read, 
I want you not to trouble." 

That evening, with all the important men of the 
town assembled in the big front room of the Herald 
office, Wat Karlow read brokenly the last "reading no 
tice" of Bloomtown s sleeping hero. It was written in 
the familiar scrawl that everybody knew, with scarcely 
a waver in its lines to tell that a dying hand had 
penned it: 

"I am going a long journey, but not so far that I 
cannot vision your growth. It was the labor of love to 
plan for this time. In the gracious wisdom of God it 
was not intended that I should enjoy it with you; but 
as Moses looked into his promised land, so through the 
eyes of the Herald I have seen mine. And God, in His 
wonderful way, has sent you another optimist to do the 
royal work of upbuilding a town. 

"My town, my people, I leave to you the greatest 
gift I have to offer. I give you my boy, Jap. He is 
worthy. Hold up his hands, in memory of 


As Harlow folded the paper, with hands that trem 
bled, he was not conscious of the fact that hot tears 
were streaming down his cheeks. There was an instant 


of tense silence. Then Tom Granger walked over to 
the boy who lay, face downward across the table, arms 
outspread in abandon of grief. He took one limp hand 
in his, and a voiceless message went from heart to heart. 
Jap aroused himself. One by one the men of Bloom- 
town filed by. No word was spoken, but each man 
pledged himself to Ellis Hinton as he took the hand of 
Ellis s boy in a firm clasp. When the others had gone, 
Wat Harlow remained. 

For a moment he stood silent beside the table. Then 
with a cry of utter heartbreak, he sank to his knees and 
permitted the bereaved boy to give vent to his long- 
repressed agony in a saving flood of tears. When they 
left the office together, there had been welded a friend 
ship that was stronger than years of any other un 
derstanding could have given. 

Flossy went back to the cottage, and, like the brave 
helpmeet of such a man as Ellis Hinton must have been, 
did not sadden the days with her grief. Sometimes, in 
the little arbor, with J. W. playing at her feet, she 
sang softly over her sewing: 

"Beautiful isle of Somewhere, 

Isle of the true, where we live anew, 
Beautiful isle of Somewhere." 

It was her advice that caused the boys to fit up a 
bedroom and living-room on the second floor of the 
office. It was her idea that separated Bill from the 


unsteady air of his home. The Judge, heeding the 
scriptural injunction implied in the immortal words of 
Moses, "It is not good that man should be alone," had 
taken unto himself a fourth wife, and Bill had so many 
rows with his latest stepmother that there was no op 
position to the change. Tom Granger observed that it 
had been so many matrimonial moons since Bill had a 
mother that he did not know whether he had any real 
kinfolks at all. It was certain that he knew little of 
the real meaning of the word "home." Flossy boarded 
them, and her cottage was their haven of refuge during 
many a long evening. It was sad comfort, and yet it 
was the surest comfort, to have her live over again 
those last days in the mountains, when Ellis s thoughts 
bridged space and visualized the rebuilding of Bloom- 

Perhaps Flossy sensed the fact that these evenings 
were bone and sinew to Jap s manhood. The boy, never 
careless, was changing to a man of purpose, such as 
would be the product of Ellis Hinton s training. The 
stray, born of the union of purposeless, useless Jacky 
Herron, and Mary, peevish and fretful, changeable and 
inconstant, had been born again into the likeness of 
the man who had been almost a demigod to him. 

The town was growing, as Ellis had prophesied, and 
was creeping in three directions across the prairie. It 
incorporated and began to settle into regular lines. 
Spring street showed but few gaps in the line of cot- 


tages that ran almost all the way from the rear of 
Blanke s drug store to Flossy s home, and another line 
of modest cottages looked at them from the other side 
of the street. A new and fashionable residence place 
was laid out, in the extreme south end of town, as far 
from the grime and soot of the railroad as possible ; 
but the substantial old families still clung to their an 
cestral halls in the vicinity of Court House Square. 

One day in early spring Bill burst into the office, his 
reporter s pad flapping wildly. His brown eyes danced. 

"Big doings !" he shouted. "Pap s going to run for 
mayor, and he wants the Herald to voice the cry of the 
town for his services." 

"Who said so?" queried Jap, sticking away at the 
last legislative report. 

"Nobody but him as far as I can find out," Bill 
returned, grinning knowingly. "It seems that they had 
a mess of turnip greens, from cellar sprouts, and they 
gave him cramps. He was dozing under paregoric when 
the idea hit him. It grew like the turnip sprouts, fast 
but pale. He wants us to water the sprouts and give 
em air, so that they ll get color in them." 

"How much did he send in for the color?" asked Jap, 
climbing down interestedly. 

The Associate Editor flashed a two-dollar bill. 

"I told Pap that if any opposition sprouted, he d 
have to raise the ante," he remarked. "He squealed 
loud enough when I squeezed him for this, but I con- 


vinced him that we had about done away with charity 
practice. Told him the Herald was out of the amateur 
class, and after this election the ante d be five bones." 

"Well," conceded Jap, "as he is Flossy s brother, 
we ll have to spread it on thick for the low price of 
introduction. Look up that woodcut of Sames, the 
Chautauqua lecturer. If you ll chisel off the beard, we 
can use it for the Judge. I think that we will kill that 
story you cribbed from the St. Louis Republic, about 
the President s morning canter with his family physi 
cian, and run the Judge along the first column. By the 
way, Bill, it would be a good idea to trace his career 
from joyous boyhood to the dignity of the judicial 
office. What judge was he? Since I have known him, 
he has never worked at the bench. 

Bill grinned wickedly. 

"He was judge of live stock at the county fair!" 

"Fallen is Caesar !" Jap exploded. "What can we 
say about him?" 

"Nothin for certain, as Kelly Jones says," Bill la 

"I never tried fiction," Jap averred, "but for the 
honor of the first aspirant to the office of Mayor of 
Bloomtown, and the greater glory of our Associate 
Editor, I am going to plunge." 

And plunge he did. When the town read the eulo- 
gium that Jap spread upon the front page of the Her 
ald it gasped as from a sudden cold plunge, sat up, 


rubbed its eyes, and concluded that it had somehow 
failed to understand or appreciate its foremost son. 
Hollins, the leading grocer, and Bolton, the furniture 
dealer, had felt the itch for office ; and Marquis, the at 
torney, had stood in his doorway for a week awaiting 
the delegation that would press upon him the nomina 
tion ; but all these aspirants faded like poppies in the 
wake of the reaper. Nobody could be found to buck a 
sure thing, such as Judge Bowers, backed by the power 
of the press. 

The week after election, the Herald sported fifty 
small flags through its columns, and quoted Wat Har- 
low s speech in which he declared that Judge William 
Hiram Bowers was "the noblest Roman of them all." 
For which Bill accounted to Jap by the astute observa 
tion that Rome was a long way off. The Judge hardly 
caught Wat s meaning, and came into the office to 

"I am afeard that folks 11 think we have Catholic 
blood in the family," he complained, shaking the paper 

"Mystery is the blood of progress, Pap," assured 
Bill gravely. "If you will notice, the men that get 
there always have a skeleton rattling a limb now and 

"Mis Bowers don t like it," he objected. "I had to 
quit the Methodists and be immersed in the Baptists 
afore she d have me, and now she s fairly tearin up 


the wind over this talk about me bein a Roman. You 
gotta correct it !" 

"We have given you a hundred dollars worth of ad 
vertising for a measly two-dollar bill," declared Jap 
emphatically. "The columns of the Herald are free to 
news. Advertising at our regular rates. Bill will give 
you particulars." 

"Dollar an inch for display," crisped Bill; "ten 
cents a line for readers." He seated himself, pencil in 
hand, as he added, "payable in advance." 

"Make a flat rate of ten dollars, as it is the Judge," 
advised Jap judicially. 

The Mayor-elect decided to let it alone ; but Jap 
mentioned the fact, in the next issue of the Herald, 
that Judge Bowers had alleged that he was born in 
New England, of Puritan stock, and had no Italian 
sympathies which lucid statement abundantly satis 
fied Judge and Mrs. Bowers, but set the town to won 
dering what the Judge was hiding in the dim annals of 
his past. 


"I WORKED a bunch of passes out of the agent for 
that Indian medicine show," announced Bill, washing 
his hands. "Want to take her, Jap?" and he jerked his 
head in the direction of the front door, where Isabel 
Granger was passing. 

"No ; I m going out to Flossy s a while. I want to 
talk some things over with her." 

There was no further discussion, for at that moment 
Rosy Raymond floated by, and Bill started out in eager 
pursuit. Ever since the election, Jap had been ob 
sessed by a disquieting foreboding. One of Mayor Bow- 
ers s first official acts was to authorize the opening of a 
second saloon on Main street, and he was rapidly push 
ing the work of erecting two new business houses which, 
rumor declared, were to house other thirst palaces. 
Hitherto the natives and the surrounding territory 
had been amply supplied by Holmes ; but Bloomtown 
was growing beyond the reach of one saloon. 

Holmes had come across with a double-sized license, 
under promise of the Mayor that he should continue to 
have a monopoly of the trade. And when the good 
people of the various churches waited upon Judge Bow- 



ers to protest against what they were disposed to call 
the "introduction of Satan into their town," he called 
their attention to the need for municipal revenue. If 
one saloon was a help, two saloons would double that 
help. The town had already begun to show signs of 
genuine progress. It had to build a calaboose to take 
care of the saloon s patrons, and the regular fines for 
plain drunks almost paid the cost of the court that 
collected them. 

Once Jap thought he detected a sinister reason for 
Bill s flushed cheeks and unsteady gait as he passed 
hastily through the office on his way to the sleeping 
room above. The next morning Bill declared that he 
had been a fool, and had paid for his folly with a severe 
headache, and Jap, with the delicacy that was Jap s, 
let the subject drop. It was becoming fashionable for 
the young fellows of the town to assume a tough swag 
ger. Those who had formerly resorted to barn lofts 
and musty cellars paraded their sophistication on Main 
street, and Bill would rather be dead than out of style. 
Jap wanted to talk it over with Flossy, but he had 
never found the key to open such poignant confidence. 
What right had he to burden Flossy with fresh anx 
iety? In his loneliness, he yearned for Ellis as he had 
never yearned before. 

He was sitting on the little front porch, tossing J. 
W. on the tough old trotting horse afforded by his two 
ill-padded knees, and vaguely wondering how he could 


introduce the subject of Bloomtown s swift decay, with 
out wounding Judge Bowers s sister and Bill s aunt, 
when they heard a great tumult in the vicinity of the 
medicine show. After a while Bill came up the walk 
with Rosy. 

"What was the racket about?" Jap asked incuri 

Rosy giggled. 

"They wanted to nominate the ugliest man in town, 
and there was a fight," she said. 

"Shut up!" growled Bill. "Haven t you got any 

"Sam Waldron nominated Jap," she sputtered, be 
tween giggles. 

A hot flush swept over Jap. Always keenly sensi 
tive, he had never armored himself against the playful 
brutalities of his friends. The shame of being made a 
subject of ridicule cut deeply. 

"Rosy is a fool!" snapped Bill. 

"What was the fuss about?" asked Flossy, prompted 
by a conviction that further revelation would be good 
for Jap. 

"Why, Isabel Granger slapped his face, and Bill 
jumped in and punched him in the ribs, and the crowd 
wanted to take him down to the pond and duck him." 

Flossy s hand, sought Jap s, and she laughed softly. 

"That was worth while, boy. How Ellis would have 
written it up!" 


Jap smiled, but the sting was still there. When it 
was evident that Bill and Rosy expected to spend the 
evening, he arose with a tired, "Well, I ll be going," 
and walked around the cottage to the alley gate. He 
was afraid of meeting some one on Spring street, and 
he made excuse to his own consciousness that the alley 
had always been the rational highway between the cot 
tage and the office. He put his hand in his pocket for 
his key, as he emerged on Main street. 

As he approached the door, he saw that some one 
was sitting on the steps. She sprang up and laid 
trembling hands on his arm. 

"Oh, Jap, you won t mind ! You won t let it hurt 
you? Everybody knows that you are the best-looking 
man in town. At least I think so !" 

Before he could grasp her arm, the girl was gone. 
That night Jap lay awake long hours, thinking, think 
ing. With the morning, reason returned. He had as 
sumed responsibility for Flossy and the boy. He must 
not think again. 

And indeed the next few days gave him little time for 
thought. Wat Harlow slipped into the office late one 
afternoon. He wore a furtive look and an appearance 
of guilt. There was about him a suggestion of gum 
shoes. Something must be amiss. 

"I want to see you alone, Jap," he confessed. 

Jap led the way to the little private office. Harlow 


was pulling nervously at the stubby mustache that hid 
his short upper lip. 

"In trouble, Wat?" asked Jap anxiously. 

"No not exactly. You see, it s this way " He 

coughed apologetically. "The wife had a dream, a 
funny dream, the other night. She s had curious dreams 
ever since we took that long trip, to New York and all 
over, last year, and there may be nothing to it, 

but " He lit a fresh cigar, and went at it again. 

"She says that she saw me going into the Capitol at 
Washington just as if I belonged there. And she got 

a notion Jap, you know how notionate women 

are. She thinks well, she thinks that I might be called 
to run for the House of Representatives." 

"Oh, I see," said Jap, illuminated. "It would sound 
good for the Herald to mention that you are in line?" 

"Not rough-like, Jap ! Just a little tickle in the ribs, 
to see what they d say." 

"Oh, I ll fix that," declared Jap, laughing. And the 
Herald flung the hat in the ring for "Harlow, the one 
honest man." 

Jap smiled sadly as he read his copy over. He had 
a habit of wondering what Ellis would have said. He 
wondered, too, what attitude the editor of the Barton 
Standard would take. The Standard had recently 
changed hands, and since Bloomtown had pulled a 
saloon, a sunbonnet factory and two business houses 
out of Barton, a rapid-fire editorial war had been in 


progress. By some curious dispensation of Provi 
dence, Jones of the Standard and Herron of the Herald 
had never met. Jap was not hunting trouble, but the 
same spirit that prompted him to thrash his tormen 
tors, the day of his advent in Ellis Hinton s town, 
caused him to wield a fire-tipped pen against the Stand 

That opposition to Wat s candidacy would develop, 
before the nomination, was to be expected; but oppo 
sition on the part of the Barton Standard would be a 
purely personal matter, the Standard having its own 
party fights to foster. But that was all Jap feared. 

It was even worse than he could have imagined, for 
Jones dug up a bloody ghost to walk at every political 
meeting. Not only were all Wat Harlow s sins of 
omission and commission paraded in the Standard, but 
he was proclaimed as the implacable foe of higher edu 
cation. In vain did his home paper print his record, of 
beneficent bills introduced, of committee work on be 
half of the district schools, and his great speech set 
ting forth the need of a new normal school building. 
Jones had one trump card left in his hand, and the day 
before the convention he played it. It was a handbill, 
yellow with age and ragged around the edges, but still 
showing a badly spelled, abominably punctuated story 
in vermilion ink, with a weeping angel at the top and a 
rooster and two prancing stallions at the bottom. It 


proved Wat Harlow the undying foe of the State Uni 

Despite all the Herald s valiant work, that night 
mare was Harlow s undoing. The nomination went to a 
rising politician at the opposite side of the congres 
sional district. A great change had come over the 
sentiment of the state, since the day when the Univer 
sity had been the favorite tool of the political grafters. 
Every village had its band of rooters for the Alma 
Mater, and when the nominating convention came to a 
close it was apparent that Wat Harlow was hardly an 
"also ran." 

Defeat was galling enough; but the Standard s ex 
pressions of glee were unbearable. Jap s red hair 
stood on end, "like quills upon the fretful porcupine," 
as he stood at his case and threw the type into the 
stick, hot from the wrath in his soul. The paper was 
printed, as usual, on Thursday; but Friday brought a 
change in the even tenor of Bloomtown s way. Jones, 
of the Standard, was a passenger on the eastbound 
train that left Barton a little after noon. His destina 
tion was Bloomtown. 

"I am looking for a cross-eyed, slit-eared pup by 
the name of Herron," was the greeting he flung into 
the Herald s sanctum. The door to the composing 
room was open. Jap looked up wearily. 

"Would you mind sitting down and keeping quiet 
till I finish setting up this address to the bag of wind 


that edits the Barton Standard?" he said impersonally. 

Jones, of the Standard, sat down and gaped at the 
long, lank figure on the stool. A moment he went limp 
and terrified; then he rallied his courage. 

"Do you unwind all at once?" he asked, as Jap dis 
entangled his legs from the stool. "I take back what 
I said about a pup. You re a full-grown dog, all right. 
I wasn t looking for a brick-top, either. No wonder 
you have a weakness for vermilion." 

"Better come outside of town," Jap interrupted. 
"I ve been intending to go over to Barton to have a 
look at you, but it s better thus. I have been stealing 
space from my readers long enough. They pay for 
more important things than my private opinion of you. 
I made up my mind to stop the argument by giving you 
a hell of a licking, and I ve only waited because I didn t 
care to risk my reputation in a neighboring town. Here 
it will be different. In the midst of my friends, I hope 
to fix you so that you ll never try to throw filth on 
any one again." 

Jones arose hastily. 

"I want no row," he said uneasily. "I just want an 

"You have the right idea," cried Jap. "You are go 
ing to get lots of understanding before you leave Bloom- 

At that moment the town marshal strolled in, wear 
ing his star pinned on his blue flannel shirt. 


"I demand protection," Jones shouted. "This man 
has threatened me." 

"What s the row, Jap?" asked the monitor of peace 

"This is Mr. Wilfred Jones, of the Barton Standard" 
was all that Jap said. But the effect was electrical. 
The man of peace was transformed into an engine of 

"Going to beat him up?" he yelled. "Go to it, and 
I m here, if you need help." 

Jap took off his coat, deliberately. He unclasped his 
cuffs and was in the act of unbuttoning his collar, when 
the local freight whistled for the crossing below town. 
With a mighty leap the man from Barton cleared the 
space between his chair and the door. The strolling 
populace of Main street was scattered like leaves be 
fore a sudden gust of wind. There was an abortive 
cry of "Stop, thief!" and a bewildered pursuit by sev 
eral tipsy bums who had been loafing in front of Bing- 
ham s saloon, but the appearance of the marshal, wear 
ing a broad grin of satisfaction, dispelled apprehen 

"phat was Jones, travelin light," he explained. 

The next issue of the Standard failed to mention the 
editorial visit to Bloomtown ; but the scurrilous articles 
ceased and there was quiet again. 

"Did Ellis ever have a fight that kind of a fight 
with anybody?" Jap asked Flossy, when Bill had fin- 


isheid his second-hand recital of the show that "he 
wouldn t have missed for his farm in Texas." In Bill s 
heart there arose a mighty resentment against Rosy 
Raymond, who had enticed him from the office just be 
fore Jones arrived. 

"Ellis did a good deal of fighting before he got me to 
fight his battles for him," she said, a whimsical smile 
in her gentle eyes. "You ought to know, Jap. I never 
would have had Ellis if he hadn t whipped Brother 

"But that wasn t a matter of personal grudge," Jap 
argued. It had seemed to him that somehow he had 
degraded himself when he went down to Jones s ethical 
level. "I wanted to use my fists because Jones ridi 
culed me. When Ellis licked the Judge, it wasn t a 
personal matter. He did it for me." 

"And you did this for for the honor of Bloom- 
town," cried Bill, with enthusiasm. 


"SOMETHING S broke loose," announced Bill, slam 
ming the door violently. "Pap s bought an automobile." 
Which illuminative remark indicated that Judge Bow- 
ers s mind had expanded to let in a fresh vagary. 

Jap looked up inquiringly. 

"I reckon it s all on account of Billy Wamkiss," Bill 

"Billy who? There never was no such animal," and 
Jap scowled at the stick in his hand. Conditions in 
Bloomtown were, as Jim Blanke expressed it, all to the 
bad. While the political fight was at white heat the 
Mayor had contrived to have his own way. He was 
going to "make the town" which Ellis Hinton had failed 
to make. There would be revenue enough to provide 
metropolitan improvements, and already there was a 
metropolitan, perhaps even a Monte Carlo-tan, air to 
the recently awakened village, as every train disgorged 
its Saturday evening crowd of gamblers from the city 
where the lid had gone on with ruthless completeness. 

Mrs. Granger had arisen from a sick-bed to call to 
gether the women of all the churches to make protest 
at the licensing of another pool-room, with bar and 



poker attachment, not two blocks from her home, a 
stroke that had met its counter stroke when the saloon 
element threatened to boycott Granger s bank and open 
a rival financial institution in one of the store-rooms of 
the recently erected hotel that faced the Court House 
Square, half a block away. Another crowd, the men 
with store-rooms and cottages to rent, promised to 
carry all their banking business to Barton, if Granger 
didn t "sit on his wife good and proper." 

"Never was no such animal?" Bill repeated. "Wake 
up, Jap. Don t you know who Billy Wamkiss is?" 

"Never heard of the guy," Jap insisted. 

"He s that greasy, wall-eyed temperance lecturer 
that s been stringing the town for a week." 

"Humph !" Jap snorted. "Time for you to wake up, 
Bill. You brought in the ad yourself, and you wrote 
the account of the first lecture. The columns of the 
Herald will bear me out that the reverend gentleman s 
name is Silas Parsons." 

"Yes, that s his reverend name," Bill snorted. "When 
he s the advance agent of a rotgut whiskey house over 
in Kentucky that supplies fancy packages to all the 
dry territory around here, he s plain Billy Wamkiss." 

"Oh, that s his game !" Jap sat up, his gray eyes 
wide with astonishment. "How did you get next to 

"Your good friend, Wilfred Jones, put me wise. He 
didn t mean to, but he let it slip out when he wasn t 


watching. I ran into him over in Barton this morning 
and he was roasting Bloomtown as usual. Said we were 
a bunch of Rubes, to fall for a raw proposition like 
Billy Wamkiss, dressed up as a temperance lecturer. 
And then he went on to say that my daddy would get 
richer n he already is, from his rake-off on the moisture 
that ll be injected into the town after she goes dry. He 
said he met Wamkiss in Chicago three years ago, and 
he s been doing a rattling business all over the country 
deliver lectures on the evils of the Demon Rum that d 
bring tears to the eyes of a potato ; dry up the terri 
tory, with the help of the churches ; and then fill up the 
town with drug stores. That s his program, and it s 
going to work here, thanks to my amiable and honor 
able father." 

Jap was silent. He had no words with which to ex 
press his emotions. Bill went out on the street, his 
reporter s pad under his arm. In half an hour he re 

"It s worse I mean more incriminating than I 
thought, Jap," he said, as he drew his partner into the 
private office and shut the door. 

"Did you attend that meeting at the Baptist 
Church?" Jap asked anxiously. 

"Yes, and I had to dig out before it was over. I 
wanted to explode, and blow up the whole bunch of 
idiots and crooks. Pap and Wamkiss, alias Parsons, 
have formed some kind of a Templar lodge, and my 


daddy s got himself elected secretary. They re going 
to dry up Bloomtown. Fancy it! They did a lot of 
crooked work over at the Court House, so as to make 
it look as if all the licenses would expire at the same 
time. Holmes is the only one that s likely to squeal, 
because he s paid his second fee, and the others have 
only a few months to run. They ll make it up to 
Holmes, I reckon, rather n have him give the snap 
away. Of course, Jap, I haven t got the goods for any 
of this. I just put two and two together while I was 
listening to the speeches, especially my father s speech." 

"Bill" Jap laid his hand on Bill s arm "you made 
the mistake of your career when you picked that owl 
for a daddy. He has made more trouble than three 
towns could stand up against. First, he throws the 
place wide open and takes all the stray saloons and 
gambling dens to his bosom; and just when we have a 
reputation for being the toughest town on the road and 
doing a land-office business in sin, he is he is fool 
enough to try to pull off a stunt like this. What be 
comes of his plea for municipal revenue when he turns 
saloons into drug stores ?" 

"Well, the lid s going on," Bill returned. "The 
preachers and the ladies are strong for it, and the 
right honorable Mayor announced that he was the 
Poo Bah that was going to put up the shutters." 

"Better order a granite," Jap muttered, as he re 
turned to the composing room. 


And his prediction was well founded, for the town 
had become so used to its "morning s morning" that it 
fairly ravened for the blood of Mayor Bowers. The 
Herald office became a forum for indignant orators, 
while the Mayor strutted proudly up and down Main 
street, with the black-coated Parsons, feeling that the 
eyes of the world were glued on him. 

"Parsons ! Bah !" spluttered Kelly .Tones, who had 
driven four miles with his empty jug. "Ef the town 
has got any git-up, it ll ride him and that old jackass 
of a mayor on a rail." 

"Judge Bowers is the honored father of our Asso 
ciate Editor," informed Jap gravely. 

As Bill looked up he thumped the galley he was car 
rying against the case and pied the whole column. 
After he had said what he thought about the catastro 
phe, Kelly grinned appreciatively. 

"Them s my sentiments, Bill. Ef you love your 
pappy, you d better let him go, along of Parsons, cause 
there s goin to be doin s around Bloomtown that ll 
hurt his pride. Parsons ! They say out our way that 
his right name s Wamkiss." 

The turgid tide of popular sentiment caused Mayor 
Bowers some uneasiness ; but before anything could 
happen five new drug stores were opened for business 
and things moved placidly along again. Barton began 
to refer to "our neighbor, Bumtown," and it was re- 


ported that two blind tigers prowled in the environs of 
the railroad station. 

"Bill," said Jap one morning, "this won t do. We ll 
have to raise hell in this town. This is Ellis s town, and 
we re not going to let a dod-blinged mugwump like 
your asinine daddy ruin it. Bill, if you have got any 
speech to make, get ready. If you can t stand for my 
program, name your price, for the Herald is going to 
everlastingly lambaste William Bowers, Senior." 

"Pull the throttle and run er wild," Bill retorted, 
as he ducked down behind the press and dragged forth 
a box from the corner. "I m going to get out that last 
lot of cuts that Ellis made," he continued. "Kelly 
Jones knows sense. If I remember right, Ellis had 
twenty-five cuts of jacks for the stock bill. We will 
stick every blamed one of em in next week s issue, and 
label em Mayor Bowers. He has killed the town with 
his ideas. What can we do with him but hang him?" 

When the Herald appeared the following Thursday 
afternoon, the town quit business to read the war cry 
of Ellis s boy. It was a flaming sword, hurled at the 
Board of Aldermen. Bowers, foaming with wrath, 
stormed into the office. 

"You take all that back," he yelled, "or I ll put you 
out of this here building. I ve told you times enough 
this office belongs to me. I never turned it over to 

Jap stuck type, deadly calm on the surface of his 


being. Bill shifted uneasily, his hands clinched, his 
ruddy face glowing. 

"You hear me?" bawled the irate Mayor. 

Jap turned to consult his copy. Before the act 
could be imagined Bowers had struck him over the head 
with the revolver he dragged from his pocket. Jap fell, 
crumpling to the floor, the blood spurting across the 
type. For an instant there was horrified silence. Then, 
with a howl like that of a wild beast, Bill threw himself 
upon his father. But for the intervention of Tom 
Granger, who had followed the Mayor because he 
scented trouble, there would have been a quick finish 
to the pompous career of Bill Bowers s progenitor, for 
Bill had wrested the pistol from his father s hand and 
was pressing it against the temple of the worst scared 
coward Bloomtown had ever seen. There was a sharp 
tussle between the broad-shouldered banker and the 
frenzied youth. Several men rushed in from the street. 

"Let me go !" shouted Bill, "for if he s killed Jap he s 
got to die." 

They were carrying Jap out of the composing room, 
limp and bleeding. 

"Let him alone, Bill," Tom counselled wisely. "Let 
your father alone, for if Jap is dead, we ll lynch him." 

Jap was pretty weak when they brought the Mayor s 
resignation up from the calaboose for him to read. A 
representative delegation stood around his bed. 

"Let the Judge out, for Bill s sake," Jap said. 


"We d better keep him locked up for his own sake," 
declared Tom Granger. "For in Bill s present frame 
of mind he s likely to make an orphan of himself." 

Flossy came in from the little sitting-room and 
leaned over the bed. 

"I am going to see Brother William," she said quietly. 
"I am going to take Brent Roberts with me. William 
will give you boys a quitclaim bill to this property, for 
this dastardly deed." 

She was an impersonation of righteous wrath as she 
swept into the jail, followed by Bloomtown s leading 
attorney. Judge Bowers had said more than once that 
Flossy had a willing tongue, but its full willingness was 
never conceived until she descended upon him that event 
ful day. 

An arrangement, made by Ellis just before his de 
parture, gave the contents of the office to the boys, on 
regular payments to Flossy. The ground on which the 
new building stood had been deeded to Ellis and Flossy 
on their wedding day; but the building, presumed to 
be a gift to Ellis, had been reclaimed by Bowers ; it 
was held, however, as Bill s share in the firm. As yet 
no occasion had arisen that demanded the settling of 
the question of ownership. Whenever the Judge had 
an attack of bile he came into the office to remind Bill 
and Jap that the building was still his. 

For one heated hour Flossy detailed the past, pres 
ent and future of her cowering brother. When she left 


him he was a wiser, and probably a sadder, man, for 
she had deprived him of his weapon. 

There was a big bonfire on the circus grounds, and 
a celebration in Court House Square that night. The 
next day there was a great vacuum in the City Hall, for 
the Board of Aldermen resigned unanimously. A spe 
cial election was called, and before Jap was strong 
enough to sit at his case he had been elected Mayor of 

He looked sadly from the window of his bedroom, 
after the joyous crowd of serenaders that had come to 
congratulate him. Bill had followed in their wake, to 
escort Rosy home. It was late. The clock in the Pres 
byterian church spire chimed twelve, as he stood alone. 
He took his hat from the rack and went cautiously 
downstairs. On the pavement he paused a moment to 
steady himself. His head still reeled after any un 
wonted exertion. Then he walked slowly up Main 
street, across the railroad tracks, and out to the quiet 
village whose inhabitants slept neath marble and sod. 
Standing beside the grave of his first friend, he said: 

"Ellis, make the town proud of your boy. Help me 
to be your right hand. If I can only fulfill your plan, 
I am willing that no other ambition be fulfilled." 

A lonely night bird called softly. The willow 
branches waved in the breeze. Thick darkness hung 
over the City of the Dead. Suddenly the moon peered 


through the clouds, flooding the night with beauty, and 
Jap read from the stone the last message of Ellis : 

"I go, but not as one unsatisfied. In God s plan, my 
work will live." 


"Now that you ve got it, Jap," asked Tom Granger, 
"what are you going to do with it?" Jap looked 
silently from the door. 

"He put in about eight hours of thinking about that 
himself," Bill averred. "News is that ten saloons are 
loaded on freight cars, waiting word from Jap." 

"You ll have to strike a happy medium," suggested 
Tom. "I know that you are the boy to deliver the 

"Ellis wasn t against saloons," commented Bill, "so 
Jap won t have that to chew over. Ellis wasn t either 
for or against em." 

"No," Tom said seriously, "Ellis was dead set against 
hypocrisy. He hated a liar and a grafter worse than 
a murderer. He knew that the way to make people 
want a thing was to tell em they couldn t have it." 

Jap s face was grave. A panorama of wretched pic 
tures moved slowly before his wandering gaze, pictures 
that began and ended in Mike s place, in the half-for 
gotten village of Happy Hollow. He aroused himself 
with a start. 

"I m going to put it up to the new Board to allow 


as many saloons as want to, to come in," he said shortly. 

Tom Granger let go a shrill whistle. 

"At the license asked," continued Jap calmly. "The 
license will be three thousand dollars a year, and strict 
enforcement of all laws. At the first break, the lid will 

"Jumping cats !" howled Tom. "Where will you get 
the saloon that ll pay that?" 

Jap smiled wearily. "I am not hunting a saloon for 
Bloomtown," he said, and turned toward the door in 
time to bump into Isabel Granger, her arms full of bun 
dles. She blushed and dimpled prettily. 

"I am looking for my papa," she cried, pinching 
Tom s cheek with her one free hand. "I want you to 
carry these packages for me." 

"Run along, pet. I m busy." 

"You look it," she reproved. "I simply can t carry 
all these things. My arm is almost broken now, and 
the dressmaker has to have them." 

"Jap will tote them for you," chuckled Tom, watch 
ing the blood rush over Jap s sensitive face. To his 
surprise, Jap took the bundles and walked out with 
Isabel. He looked after them approvingly. 

"Now there goes the likeliest boy in the state," he 
declared. "It s plumb funny the way he s got of get 
ting right next to your marrow bones. I wish I had a 
boy like him." 


"No great matter," drawled Bill, with tantalizing in- 

Tom looked up at him quizzically, as he picked ab 
sently at the pile of exchanges. Something in the 
young man s tone piqued him. 

"If Jap wasn t so all-fired conscientious," Bill 
blurted, "you d have a son, in quick order." 

"Lord!" exploded Tom. "Dunderhead that I am!" 
He slapped his thigh, and a great, joyous laugh set his 
shoulders to heaving. "Bill, you re a genius for spy 
ing out mysteries. How did you get on to it?" 

"Mysteries !" shouted Bill. "Why, everybody in 
Bloomtown, including Isabel, knows that Jap is fairly 
sapheaded about her." 

"Well, what s hampering him?" inquired Tom. 
"Why don t he confide in me?" 

"Confide your hat !" remarked Bill crisply. "Isabel 
will die of old age before Jap asks her. You see, he 
is such a durn fool that he thinks he isn t good enough 
for her. When the Lord made Jap Herron He made 
a man, I tell you !" 

"Who said He didn t?" stormed Tom. "I can t know 
what is in the boy s mind, can I? What do you want 
me to do, kidnap him and get his consent? Bill, you re 
a fool. You needn t tell me that Jap Herron is such 
a mealy-mouth." 

"All I know is that he won t ask Isabel," Bill said 
gloomily. "I d like to get married myself, but as long 


as Jap stays single, I stick too." And thinking of 
Rosy s blue eyes, he sighed heavily. 

"It beats me, the way young folks do. It was dif 
ferent when I went courting," Tom muttered, turning 
to go. 

At the door he met Kelly Jones, who had come in to 
inquire what Jap intended to do about the "licker" 
business. He was too busy with his fall plowing to be 
running over to Barton for his jug of good cheer, and 
he didn t like the brand he could get at Bingham s 
drug store, on Doc Connor s prescription. While he 
was still holding forth, Jap came in, with half-a-dozen 
constituents, all busy with the same problem. Bill took 
up his notebook and wandered out. At Blanke s drug 
store he met Isabel. She motioned for him to come back 
in the store. 

"What do you want to know, Iz?" he asked with the 
familiarity born of long years of propinquity. "Reck 
on you want to ask what everybody else wants to know 
when is Jap going to get a saloon?" 

"You are too smart, Bill Bowers," she retorted, with 
annoyance. She had had a subject of more personal 
nature on the tip of her tongue. "I think that Jap 
will be able to answer his own questions without any 
help from you." 

"It is to be hoped that he will make a better stagger 
at answering than he does at asking," remarked Bill 


"Now, Bill Bowers, just what do you mean?" she 
demanded, her black eyes flashing angrily. 

"What s the use?" said Bill, in disgust. "Rosy says 
that she s going to Kansas this fall, and I just will have 
to let her go because I can t ask her to stay." 

"Pity about you," she snapped. "Thought you said 
Jap couldn t ask." 

"I did," assented Bill, "for if he had gumption 
enough to get married, or even go courting, I might 
get by. But as long as he sticks alone I m going to 
stick, too." 

Isabel s face flamed. She stooped to pick up a bit 
of paper. 

"What do you want to tell me about it for?" she 
complained. "My goodness, I m not to blame." 

"You are," stormed Bill. "Jap knows that he is not 
your equal, and he never will marry." 

"Who said that Jap Herron was not more than the 
equal of any man on earth?" she blazed. "If Jap will 
ask me, I ll marry him to-morrow." 

She whirled away in her wrath, and ran into the arms 
of Jap Herron, standing half paralyzed with the won 
der of it. Bill, who had been watching the unconscious 
Jap approaching for several minutes, discreetly with 

"Gee !" he said, "but they ought not to be kissing in 
such a public place." 

There were a dozen customers in the store, but 


neither Jap nor Isabel knew it. And it is to the credit 
of Bloomtown that they all looked the other way, as 
they hurriedly transacted their business and departed. 
Blanke declared afterward that he filled fifteen pre 
scriptions with epsom salts in his abstraction, and ac 
cidentally cured Doc Horton s best paying patient. 
Moss, the paper hanger, went out with his rolls of 
paper, and hung the border on the walls, instead of 
the siding. The mistakes reported were legion ; but 
the town was all courting Isabel with Jap, at heart. 

Bill rambled into the bank and suggested that Tom 
go over to Blanke s and lead Jap and Isabel out, as 
Blanke might want to close the store. Half an hour 
later Tom came from the drug store, with an arm 
locked with each of the glowing pair. Straight across 
Main street they marched, and down the shady walk 
that flanked the little park until they were opposite 
the front gate of the Granger home. Then they went 
in to break the news to Isabel s invalid mother. 

Flossy heard about it, almost before Jap had awak 
ened to his own joy, and he never knew of the hour she 
spent in passionate grief. In some vague way it 
seemed to tear open the old wound. Without knowing 
why, she resented the fact that Isabel s brunette beauty 
had won Jap. She told herself that it was not a fitting 
match for him. Flossy, in her maternal soul, had 
looked to heights undreamed of by the retiring boy. 
She had planned a future for him that would be sadly 


hampered by marriage with a village belle. But only 
smiles met him when he brought Isabel to her, his plain 
features glorified by joy in her possession. 

Somehow the story of Jap Herron, the youthful 
Mayor of Bloomtown, his advent in its environs, and 
the story of his romance with the banker s daughter, 
crept into the country press, was carried over into the 
city papers and flung broadcast, so that friend and foe 
might seek him out. One dreary fall day, when the 
rain was beating sullenly down on the sodden leaves, a 
haggard, dirty woman straggled into the office. 

"I m lookin for Jasper Herron," she mumbled. 
"They told me I d find him in here." 

Jap looked at her in horror. His heart sank. 

"I am his poor old mother, that he run away from 
and left to starve," she said viciously. 

And Jap, just on the threshold of his greatest happi 
ness, was turned aside by this grizzly, drunken phantom 
from the past. 


LITTLE J- W. crawled out from under Bill s case, 
his brown eyes wide with surprise at this vagrant who 
called Jap "son." 

"Run like sin," counselled Bill, in a whisper, "and 
bring your mother. She will know what to do." 

While the boy went to do his bidding, Bill slipped 
out of the rear door of the office and was waiting in 
front of the bank when Flossy came hurrying along. 

"Oh, Bill, what has Jap said?" she asked breath 
lessly. From J. W. s lisping description he always 
lisped when he was excited she had come to fear the 

"Nothing," said Bill bluntly. "He s sitting at his 
case, sticking type as if he was hired by the minute." 

"And she that awful woman?" 

"Gee !" Bill spat the word. "You don t know any 
thing yet. Wait till you lamp her over." 

"That bad, Bill?" 

"Worse," muttered Bill. And when Flossy came 
inside and looked into the little inner office where the 
woman sprawled, half asleep and muttering incoher 
ently, the fumes of liquor and the presence of filth all 



too evident, her stomach rebelled and she retreated 
swiftly. Softly she slipped into the composing room 
through the wide-open door. Timidly she approached 
Jap and touched his arm. He looked at her with eyes 
utterly hopeless. 

"Oh, Jap, what can I do?" 

"You cannot do anything," his voice flat and emo 
tionless. "No one can. Could you take her in? No! 
She is impossible, and yet she is my mother. Per 
haps if I had stayed with her it would have been dif 
ferent, so I must make up for it." 

Flossy looked into his set face in affright. 

"I am going away with her." Jap s tones were 
calm. "You can see, Flossy, that it is the only way. 
I cannot be Mayor of Ellis s town with such a disgrace 
to shame me. I must give up Isabel and and the 

Flossy clung to his arm. 

"Listen to me, Jap Herron," she cried shrilly. "You 
shall not do it ! You shall not let this horrible old 
woman drag you down in the dirt." 

Jap smiled sadly. 

"What could I do, Flossy? She must be cared for. 
She has been all over town. Everybody has seen her. 
They know the truth, that my mother is what she is." 

Suddenly he threw himself forward on the case and 
began to sob, such hard, racking sobs as might tear his 
very breast. Flossy threw her arms around him and 


cried aloud. Bill stood in the little private office, look 
ing down upon the snoring woman with a murderous 
glare. He turned as Tom Granger came noiselessly 
from the outer office and stood beside him. Grief was 
in Granger s face. 

"I heard what Jap said just now," he whispered, 
"and he is right. It would be impossible for him to 
stay with her in the town. She has ruined Jap." 

"You re a gol-dinged fool," shouted Bill, dragging 
him across the big office and out of the front door. 
"Pretty sort of friend you are, anyway. I ll fight you, 
or a half-dozen like you, if you murmur a word like that 
to Jap." 

He whirled as his father ambled up the street, his 
round face wearing a grin. 

"What is that greasy smirk for?" demanded Bill. 
"If you have any business in the Herald office, spit it 

"I knowed it would come out sooner or later," splut 
tered Bowers, shifting his position to avoid a pool in 
the pavement, left by the recent rain. "With half an 
eye, anybody could see the mongrel streak in " 

He stopped as his son advanced swiftly toward him. 

"What kind of a streak ?" he threatened. "I dare you 
to say that again, and hitch anybody s name to it." 

"Why, William," expostulated his father, "you 
shorely ain t goin to have Jap and his mammy hitched 
up to the Herald? Barton 11 ride Bloomtown proper." 


"It will give Jones a whack at the Herald" sug 
gested Granger mildly. 

"And it will be his last whack !" foamed Bill. "For 
I ll finish him and his filthy paper before I go to the 
pen for burning down the Herald office. The day that 
Jap Herron leaves the Herald, there will be the hell- 
firedest bonfire that Bloomtown ever saw!" His eyes 
were blazing. "Get away from here," he cried fiercely, 
"you you milksop friends !" 

He stopped as Isabel, her eyes swollen from crying, 
crossed the street. She had come across the corner of 
the park, and her face was white and drawn. Bill 
stepped up into the doorway and awaited her. 

"I want to speak to Jap," she said, as he barred 
the passage. 

"What do you want with him?" Bill demanded trucu 
lently. "Because he is packing all the load now that 
he can stand, and you ain t going to add another chip 
to it. Give me your old engagement ring, and I ll pitch 
it in the hell-box. I reckon that s what you came for." 

She pushed him aside, her eyes blazing with wrath. 

"Get out of my way, Bill Bowers. You never did 
have any sense. Let me by !" 

She flung herself past him and ran into the compos 
ing room. At sight of Flossy, she paused. Flossy 
raised her head from Jap s shoulder and looked defi 
antly at the girl, but only for a second. She knew, in 
that glance. Softly she crept out as Isabel, with a 


heart-shaking cry, ran to Jap and threw herself against 

"Take me in your arms, Jap," she cried stormily, 
"for I love you." 

Jap stared up, dully, for an instant. Then, for 
getting all but love, he opened his arms and clasped her 
to his heart. Bill rushed outside after Flossy. 

"I never knew that she was the real goods," he said 
remorsefully, wiping his eyes. 

"Get a wagon from the grocer," Flossy said, decisive 
again. "I am going to take her home with me." 

"Meaning that?" Bill flipped his thumb toward 
Jap s mother. 

"Send her up to the house, and I will have a doctor, 
and some one to bathe her and clean her up. Maybe 
after she is clean and sober, she won t be so dreadful." 

When Jap came out of his stupor enough to try 
to put Isabel away, he discovered what Flossy had 
done. With Isabel clinging to him, he walked with 
downcast head through the streets that lay between the 
Herald office and Flossy s cottage. 

His mother was in bed, clean and yet disgusting in 
her drunken sleep. He forgot Isabel, silent by his side, 
as he stood looking down upon the blotched and sunken 
face, thinking what thoughts God only knew. He 
seemed years older as he walked out again, after the 
doctor had told him that nothing could be determined 
until she had slept the liquor off. Slowly and silently 


he and Isabel walked past the row of neat cottages 
until they reached Main street. On the corner Jap 

"You must go home, Isabel," he said brokenly. 
"Sweetheart, I understand, and I know that you are 
the bravest girl in the world. But you must leave me 

"I will not," she declared. "I want you to take me 
right down to the office and send for a license. I am 
going to marry you, and show this town what I think 
of you!" 

"But I cannot let you," Jap said simply. "I know 
you don t." 

"Then," said Isabel defiantly, "I will go back to 
Flossy s and take care of your mother until you are 
ready to talk sense." 

Jap looked at her helplessly. They were in front of 
Blanke s drug store. Jim Blanke stepped outside and 
grasped Jap s hand. Isabel looked proudly up at him, 
her arm drawn tightly through Jap s. As they passed 
down the street, citizens sprang up, apparently from 
nowhere, and clasped Jap s hand in a fraternal grip. 
Isabel peered into his silent face. The tears were 
streaming unheeded down his cheeks. Her father 
frowned as they appeared at the door of the bank. 

"Papa," she called resolutely, "you coming with 

He stood gnawing at his lips, his face overcast. An 


instant he battled with his pride and his love for the 
boy. Then, with his old heartiness, he clapped Jap on 
the shoulder. 

"Straighten your shoulders, lad. We re all your 
friends !" And the storm cloud lightened. 

All that night Jap paced the floor of the office, while 
Bill, too sympathetic for sleep, tossed in the room above 
and swore at fate. It was noon the next day when little 
J. W. came in to say that Mrs. Herron was awake and 
wanted to see her son. 

She was half sitting among the pillows when Jap en 
tered. Flossy had drawn the muslin curtains, to soften 
the garish light as it fell on her seamed and shame- 
scarred face. She peered up at him from blood-shot, 
sunken eyes. 

"You look like your pappy s folks, Jasper," she 
croaked. "And they tell me you air a fine, likely boy, 
and follerin in the trade of your gran pap. I wisht 
that I had a known where you was, long ago. I have 
had a hard life, Jasper. Your step-pa beat me, and 
that s more n your pappy ever done. He died of the 
trimmins, three year ago, and I have been wanderin 
every since, huntin my childurn. But Aggie s a big- 
bug now, and she drove me off. And Fanny s goin 
to a fine music school, and sent me word that she d 
have me put in a sanitary if I bothered her. She saw 
a piece about you in the paper, and sent it to me. So 
I tramped thirty mile to come." 


Her face was pathetic in its misery. She sank back 
in the pillows and closed her eyes. Jap leaned down 
and drew the covers tenderly over her arms. She 
opened her eyes, at the touch, and looked up at him 

"Thanky, Jasper," she mumbled. "You be-ant 

He patted her cheek softly, and the sunken eyes 
lighted with a smile of weary contentment. Then the 
lids fluttered, like the last effort of a spent candle, and 
she slept. Like one in the maze of a vague, uncertain 
dream, Jap went back to the office. Unconsciously he 
took the familiar way, through the alley. Automatic 
ally he climbed to his stool and began setting up the 
editorial that had been interrupted by his mother s com 
ing the previous day. 

At sunset Bill touched his shoulder softly. Jap 
raised his head from his hands. 

"Your your mother never woke up after you left 
her, Jap," he said huskily. 


BILL, looked up as a long, lank form glided surrep 
titiously into the office. 

"Been a long time since you drifted our way," he 
commented, as the form resolved itself into the six-foot 
length of Kelly Jones. 

"Might nigh three month," averred Kelly grimly. 
"I ve been tradin over at Barton. Couldn t stand 
for Jap s damfoolishness. Had to buy my licker there, 
and just traded there. It s twelve mile from my farm 
to Barton, and four mile to Bloomtown. Spring s 
comin on, and work to do. I hate to take that trip 
every time the wife needs a spool o thread. Did you 
get my letter, sayin to stop the paper?" 

"Stopped it, didn t we?" queried Bill crisply, scat 
tering the type from the financial report of Bloomtown 
into the case. 

"Yes," assented Kelly, "you did. What d you do 
it for?" 

"Not forcing the Herald on anybody," announced 
Bill glibly. "Got past that. We used to hold em 
up and feed the Herald to them, but we don t have to 
do it now." 



"I hear tell that Jap made Tim Simpson night mar 
shal. Why, he run a blind tiger beyond the water 
tank," exclaimed Kelly. "I reckon Jap didn t know 

"Just because he did know it, he made Tim night 
marshal," declared Bill, flinging the last type into 
the box and descending from the stool. "Just you 
stroll down the tracks in either direction, and see if 
you can find a whisker or a tawny hair from the tip 
of any tiger s tail lying loose along the way. Jap 
knows several things, Kelly, my boy, and he is fighting 
fire with fire. Tim Simpson understands the opera 
tions of the kind of menagerie that usually flourishes 
in a dry town, and Jap put him on his honor. He s 
so conscientious that he goes over to Barton to get 
full. He won t drink it here. He s got pride in making 
Bloomtown the whitest town in the state. But explain 
the return of the prodigal. How come your feet in our 
dust again?" 

"Well," said Kelly shamefacedly, "the wife said that 
I was a durn fool. I stopped the Herald and sub 
scribed for the Standard and a pretty standard it is ! 
While Jap Herron was cleanin up, it was slingin muck 
at him. The wife read it, and one day she goes up to 
Barton and starts an argument with Jones. I reckon 
she had the last word. If she didn t, it was the fu st 
time. She come home so rip-snortin mad that she 
threatened to lick me if I didn t tackle Jones. Well, 


to keep peace in the family, I run in to see him the 
next time I went to Barton. Well, Jones put it up to 
me, if Jap was doin much for Bloomtown in havin 
unlicensed drug stores, instid of regular saloons." 

"Sure sign that you don t know the news," said 
Bill, unfolding a copy of the Herald. "Since last Sat 
urday night there has been only one drug store in 
Bloomtown. That s Blanke s, and Jim Blanke wouldn t 
sell liquor on anybody s prescription but Doc Hall s, 
and Doc Hall would let you die of snake-bite, if noth 
ing but whiskey would cure you. Any other drug 
stores that may open up in this town 11 have to pattern 
after Blanke s or out they go." 

Kelly took the paper up and scanned its columns. 
He snorted. 

"Well, I do declare ! I see that might nigh all the 
doctors have packed up and are threatenin to leave 
town. Well, there wa n t enough doctorin to keep 
twenty of em in cash nohow." 

"You ought to have heard Jap s speech when they 
were putting a plea for local option," said Bill. "My 
pap has carried a sore ear against Jap s reign ever 
since he was elected to fill out that unexpired term, 
and he stirred up a lot of bellyaches among the guz 
zlers. It was a sickening mess, because the whole town 
knows that my daddy can t stand even the smell of 
liquor. It wouldn t be so bad so hypocritical, if he 
really liked it and was used to it. As I was telling you, 


he and the old booze gang had been burning the mid 
night dip to plan a crimp for Mayor Herron, when 
that local option idea struck him. Well, Jap got up 
and made a speech, calling their attention to the bonds 
we voted, and the sound financial condition back of 
those bonds ; the granitoid pavement on Main street, 
the electric light plant that s going up, and the water 
works, and sewers that are under way all managed 
since the town went dry. Then he nominated Tom 
Granger for mayor, and what do you reckon they did?" 

"Seem as how he ain t mayor," said Kelly, with a 
twinkle, "I allow they done nothinV 

"Why," said Bill, his brown eyes kindling, "they 
arose as one man and yelled, We want Jap Herron ! 
and that settled it." 

The farmer stood in the middle of the office, his arms 
gesticulating and his head bobbing with animation, as 
Jap hurried in. He gazed at the back of Kelly s fa 
miliar slicker incredulously. 

"What!" he hailed joyously, "our old friend of the 
sorghum barrel! Where have you been hibernating? 
Surely a cure for sore eyes," and Jap seized his shoul 
der and whirled him around so that he could grasp his 

"Chipmunking in Barton," prompted Bill. "This 
sadly misguided farmer has been lost but now is found." 

"The Missus sent a package to Mis Flossy. You 
and Bill 11 eat it, I reckon," and he produced a parcel 


from his pocket. "She said if Ellis was here, he d 
appreciate it. It s sausage that she made herself. And 
and she sent a dollar for the paper. She wants the 

"And what about Kelly?" Jap asked, a wave of mem 
ory sweeping over him. 

"Just you write it down that Kelly Jones is a yaller 
pup," said Kelly morosely. 

"Never!" declared Jap heartily. "Misled, perhaps, 
but with a heart of gold." 

Kelly groped for his handkerchief. 

"I ve got on the water wagon, Jap," he sniffled. "I 
reckon I kin get along without the stuff. Sary hid 
my jug, and I done thout it for a week, and I felt fine. 
I am goin to make a stagger at it, if I do fall down." 

Jap pushed him into a chair. 

"Why, you old rascal," he cried, "you have backbone 
enough to do anything you will to do. Move into town 
and help us turn the wheels." 

Kelly wiped his nose on the tail of his slicker as he 
started for the door. 

"Don t happen to need any lasses, do you?" he 

Jap flung an empty ink bottle after him. When 
quiet had returned to the office, he said, as he hung 
his hat on the nail: 

"Isabel wants to learn to stick type." 

"Funny," said Bill shortly, "so does Rosy, and they 


hate each other like Pap hates beer. Pretty mix-up 
we ll have on our hands." 

"That s all nonsense, Bill. Rosy can t help liking 

Bill scanned the copy on his hook, his eyes narrow 

"Appears like she can," he muttered. 

"Now, Bill, this won t do," argued Jap earnestly. 
"We can t afford to have dissension in such a vital 
matter. You must talk to Rosy." 

"You can have the job," waived Bill, picking up a 
type. "Isabel said that Rosy was shallow and only 
skin-deep, and Rosy heard about it. Isabel Granger 
is not so much 

He stopped abruptly as Jap s hand went up in 
pained alarm. 

"Look here, Bill, are we going to let the chatter of 
women come between us ? There is something deeper 
holding us together than the friendship of a day. Give 
me your hand, Bill, and tell me that it is Ellis s work 
and not these trifles that you care for. We have a work 
to do, you and I." 

Bill threw the stick upon the case and grasped Jap s 
outstretched hand. Tears glistened in his eyes. 

"Better than all the loves in the world, I love you, 
Jap," he stormed. Jerking his hat from the nail, he 
strode out to walk off the emotionalism he decried. 

That afternoon he strove manfully to show Isabel 


how to put type in the stick upside down, and to save 
her feelings he stealthily corrected her faulty work, 
suppressing a grin at Jap s pride in her first attempt. 
Bill shook his head sadly as they strolled out together, 
Jap s eyes drinking in the girl s slender beauty. 

"Petticoat government 11 get old Jap tripped up," 
ne complained to the office cat. "And then where ll 
I be? When Jap marries I ll play second fiddle. Come 
seven, come leven!" and he snapped his fingers in the 


THE sun was streaming through the east windows. 
Jap looked anxiously up and down the street. Bill had 
not been home all night. This was a state of affairs 
alarming to Jap. He walked back to the table and 
turned the exchanges over restlessly. 

"I wonder if the boy could have persuaded that but 
terfly to elope with him, as he threatened he would, 
when her mother cut up so rough," he worried. 

Tim Simpson came in and peered around furtively. 

"Bill is drunk as a lord," he announced in a stage 
whisper. "I ve got him in the back room of the cala 
boose, to sober up without the news leakin ." 

Jap paled. 

"Bill drunk?" he faltered. "Who got him into it? 
Is he asleep, Tim?" 

"Lord, no ! If he was, I would a left him out 
when he come to, and said no word to you about it. 
But I m plum scared about him. He s chargin up and 
down like a Barnum lion. I reckon as how you d better 
mosey down there and try to ca m him." 

As Jap walked rapidly down the alley beside the 
night marshal, he asked: 



"Did you try to talk to him?" 

"Yes," said Simpson ruefully. "He kicked me out 
and was chasin after me when I slammed the door on 
him. He s blind crazy loaded. I fu st seen him after 
number nine pulled in, so I think he come on her. He 
was mutterin and shakin his fist when he hove in sight. 
I got him and steered him into the jug without much 
trouble, and it was only a hour ago that he started 
this ragin and ravin ." 

As they entered the jail, sounds of tramping feet 
and mutterings reached their ears. Bill s swollen, 
blotched face and reddened eyes appeared behind the 

"Let me out of here!" he shouted. "You ll get a 
broken head for this, you old mule." He shook the 
grating furiously. 

"Bill," said Jap slowly, "do you want to come with 
me, or do you want me to stay here with you till you ve 
had a bath and a good sleep?" 

Bill laughed discordantly. 

"A sleep ! A sleep !" he cried. "Yes, a long, long 
sleep. As soon as you take me out of this hell-hole, I ll 
take a sleep that ll last." 

Jap opened the door and stepped inside. 

"Don t come any nearer," warned Bill. "I m too 
filthy, Jap. But let me stay as I am till it s over." 

He sat down on the cot and stared crazily into the 


corridor. Jap sat down beside him and drew his arm 
around his shoulder, with the tenderness of a woman. 

"Tell me about it, Bill, boy," he counselled gently. 
"Tim, you may leave us." 

Bill sat a long time, staring sullenly at the floor. 

"Well, this is a hell of a display for me to bring to 
Bloomtown," he declared at last. "I should have ended 
it in Jones s town. If I hadn t been so dumb with rot- 
gut that I didn t know what I was doing, I would be 
furnishing some excitement for the Bartonites this 
morning. The finest place in the world to die in it 
isn t fit to live in." 

Jap shook him briskly. 

"Straighten up, Bill, and tell me what kind of a 
mess you have been in." 

Bill laughed wildly. After a moment he dragged a 
letter from his pocket. Jap read: 

"When you read this, I will be the wife of Wilfred 
Jones, the Editor of the Barton Standard. Maybe you 
will be pleased? I prefer to marry a real editor, not 
the half of Jap Herron." 

The letter was signed, "Rosalie," but the affectation 
carried none of the elements of a disguise. To Jap it 
was the crowning insult. Crushing the silly note in his 
hand, he threw it from him. Standing up, he drew Bill 
to his feet. 

"We are going home," he said curtly. "When you 


are sober I will tell you how disappointed I am in my 

The news that Bill had been jilted spread over 
Bloomtown like fire in a stubble-field, and deep resent 
ment greeted the announcement that Jones of the 
Standard had scored another notch against the Her 

Bill, sullen and defiant, had battled it out in the 
room above the office. All the vagaries of a sick mind 
were his. Murder, suicide, mysterious disappearance, 
chased each other across the field of his vision, and 
ever the specter of suicide returned to grin at him. 
For a day and a night Jap sat beside his bed, talking, 
soothing, comforting. Finally he made this compact: 

"To show you that I love you better than myself, 
Bill, I am going to promise that I will not marry until 
you are cured of this blow. Not a word, Bill! Hap 
piness would turn to ashes if I accepted it at your cost. 
How far I am to blame in your trouble, I can only 
guess. I am not going to preach philosophy. I am 
only going to plead my love for you." 

He took the revolver from the drawer and laid it on 
the table beside Bill. 

"If you are the boy I think you are, you will be stick 
ing type when I come back from Flossy s. If you are a 
coward, I will not grieve to find you have taken the soul 
that God gave you and flung it at His feet." 

Not trusting himself to look back, he hurried down 


the stairs. His heart was heavy with dread as he locked 
the office and walked blindly to the cottage where all 
his problems had been carried. He could not talk to 
Flossy, but, sitting beside her on the little front porch, 
he fought the mad impulse to run back to the office. 
He strained his ears for the sound that he was praying 
not to hear. 

Two hours he sat there, fighting with his fears, the 
longest hours of his life. Flossy sat as silent. No one 
knew Jap as Flossy did. Smoothing his tumbled hair 
and stroking his tightly clenched hands were her only 
expressions. Futile indeed would words be now. The 
tragedy that hovered over them both must work itself 

A whistle shrilled from the road. Jap sprang up 
with a strangled cry, as Wat Harlow came through 
the gate. His face was stern. 

"Bill allowed that this is where I d find you, chat 
ting your valuable time away," he chaffed. Then the 
mask of his countenance broke into a grin. 

"Is Bill in the office?" Jap s lips were so stiff he could 
scarcely articulate. 

"Sure he is," said Harlow cheerfully. "He wants 
you to ramble down there." 

"There s a hen on, Jap," he confided, after they had 
taken leave of Flossy. "We ll try to hatch something 
this time. I m going to get in the game again. You 


know the old saying: You musn t keep a good dog 
chained up. 

"Well?" queried Jap, his thoughts springing space 
and picturing what Bill might be doing. Wat was 
discreetly silent until they had passed through town 
and were inside the office. Bill, pale and haggard, 
looked up from his desk. He extended the paper he was 
writing on. Jap took it without a word. 


"How s that for a head?" he demanded. "If we re 
going into this thing, we might as well go with both 

He looked into Jap s face. Their eyes met. With 
one voice they cried: 

"Ellis !" 

" W T hen Harlow runs for governor, " Jap quoted 
tremulously, " you will boom him. Till then, nothing 
doing in the Halls of Justice. Bill, Ellis was a prophet. 
He even knew that he wouldn t be in the game. Wat, 
we ll put you across this time." 

"Yes, and it ll be a nasty fight," Wat returned, as 
Bill leaned over and picked nervously at the ears of 
the office cat. "We ve got Bronson Jones to buck up 
against, in all political probability. He s almost sure 
of the nomination." 

"Just who is Bronson Jones?" Jap asked. "Seems 
to me I ought to place him. He s been in the papers 


down in the southwestern part of the state a good 

"Pie s the smooth proposition that came back here a 
couple of years ago and bought back his old newspaper 
for his son and has managed up to the present time to 
keep his own name discreetly out of that same paper," 
vouchsafed Harlow. "He won t let it leak out till the 
psychological moment. He s the daddy of the split- 
hoofed imp of Satan that runs the Barton Standard!" 


JAP threw his pencil impatiently on the desk. 

"I can t get my thoughts running clear this 
morning," he said abruptly. "Every time I try to 
write, the pale face of little J. W. comes between me 
and the page." 

"They re back from the city," Bill said uneasily. 
"I saw them coming from the train. I fully meant to 
tell you, Jap." 

"I hope the specialist has quieted Flossy s fears." 
Jap ran his fingers through his loose red locks. "The 
boy is growing too fast. Why, look at the way he has 
shot up in the last year. Ellis told me that he ran up 
like a bean pole, the way I did, and just as thin. J. W. 
is exactly like him." 

"And Ellis died at forty " 

"Don t, Bill," Jap choked. "I can t bear it." He 
walked to the door and gazed out into the hazy silver 
autumn air. 

"This weather is like wine," he declared. "It will 
set the boy up, fine as a fiddle. You must remember, 
Bill, that Ellis impoverished his system by the life of 
hardship he was forced to endure while the town was 



growing. The things he used to tell were humorous 
enough, the droll way he had of telling them. But they 
break our hearts when we think of them now, and know 
that it was that privation that killed him. It was bad 
enough here when I was a youngster, and that was lux 
ury to what he had had. J. W. has not had such a 
handicap. Of course he was a delicate baby, but he 
certainly outgrew all that." 

Bill was discreetly silent. He knew that Jap was 
only arguing with his fears. In the early summer, J. 
W. had been acutely ill, and as the heat progressed, he 
languished with headache and fever. In the end, Dr. 
Hall had counselled taking him to a noted specialist in 
the city. 

"Better take a run up to Flossy s," Bill suggested. 
"You ll be better satisfied." 

Jap took a copy of the Herald from the table and 
went out. All the way along Spring street he strove 
with his anxiety. Flossy met him on the porch. One 
glance was enough for Jap. He sat down, helpless, on 
the lower step. 

"J. W. is tired out and asleep," said Flossy softly. 
"Come with me, Jap, down to the arbor. You remem 
ber the day that Ellis told you the truth about him 

Jap followed her beneath the grape trellis, stumbling 
clumsily. When they reached the arbor, with its bench 
and rustic table, she faced him, slender to attenuation. 


"Jap," she said brokenly, "J. W. has tuberculosis in 
the worst form. His entire body is filled with it. He 
contracted it while we were with Ellis and we never 
knew, never suspected Her voice broke. "Not 

even a miracle can prolong his life longer than spring. 
The doctors insisted on examining me, too. They say 
I have it, in incipiency, and my only chance of escape 
is to leave my boy to the care of others. Under the 
right conditions they say I have a fighting chance." 

"You are sure that you have every advice?" Jap s 
voice was so hoarse that she looked up at him in alarm. 

"Yes, Jap, but I knew it before. Months ago, even 
before he was so sick in the summer, I had a dream, 
and this was my dream: Ellis, with that beautiful 
smile that every one loved, was waiting out there at 
the gate, and I was hurrying to get the boy ready to 
go with him. I knew, when I awoke, that he was ready 
to wait our boy s coming. Oh, Jap, do you think that 
smile was for me, too?" 

The look of agony in Jap s sensitive face was more 
than she could bear. She clutched his arm. 

"Oh, Jap, pray help me to pray that he was wait 
ing for me, too. The time has been so long. I want to 
be with my boy to the last. You understand, Jap. I 
don t believe that words are needed." 

He put his arms around her. He could not speak, 
but his head bent above hers and the hot tears dropped 
upon her brown hair, now streaked with gray. 


"I have done the work he wanted me to do," she 
sobbed. "He wanted me to be a mother until you 
were on the plane he had planned. Like the butterfly 
whose day is done, Jap, I would go. I am so tired, and 
boy, I have never ceased to long for Ellis. The world 
could not supply another soul like his." 

"Flossy," Jap said in smothered tones, "I know. I 
have walked the floor for hours, missing him until I 
was almost frantic. But, little Mother, what is left to 
me if you go? Without you, I am drifting again." 

"I would fear that, if I had never seen into the deeps 
of Isabel s nature. And to think that I once decried 
but I didn t understand, Jap. When your mother 
came, there was a revelation. I don t fear for your 
future now. And when I knew this, I suddenly felt 
tired and old. I pray not to survive my boy." 

The following morning brought the first fall rain. 
And then, for endless weeks, the leaden sky drooped 
over the world. Dreary depression and the penetrating 
chill of approaching winter filled the air. Only the un 
wonted pressure of work kept the boys from brooding 
over the inevitable that would come with the spring 
time. To relieve Flossy of all unnecessary burdens, 
Jap and Bill went to the hotel for their meals, but 
every evening one or the other went to sit with her. 
At length there came a time, late in November, when 


the office work was more than both of them could handle, 
and for several days the visits were interrupted. 

"Flossy is sick," announced Bill, hanging his drip 
ping raincoat behind the door. "I saw Pap just now, 
and he told me. He and his wife were there all night. 
He says that J. W. has been so bad off for a week, has 
had such bad spells at night, that Flossy has hardly 
slept, and yesterday she broke down and sent for Pap. 
He took Doc Hall along, and they are afraid she has 

Jap threw his paper aside. 

"Why didn t we know that J. W. was worse?" he 
demanded. "I sent some one to inquire every morn 
ing while we had the big rush on, and Flossy said that 
they were all right. I thought that she was going to 
take him to the mountains." 

"I guess that she didn t know how sick he was," com 
mented Bill. "Pap was to haul the trunks to-morrow, 
as Flossy told us. She wanted to start on Sunday so 
that you and I could go as far as Cliffton with her. 
She knew we were working overtime to get things 
cleaned up." 

Jap put on his raincoat, for it was pouring a deluge. 

"I will not be back if Flossy needs me," he said. 

For three days and nights he hovered over the two 
sick-beds, while the wind soughed mournfully around 
the cottage, and the rain dripped, dripped, dripped, 
like tears against the wall outside. Neighbors and 


friends volunteered their services. Bill and Isabel came 
as often as was possible; but when all the others had 
gone, Jap kept his solemn vigil alone. On the after 
noon of the fourth day, there was a sudden turn for 
the worse. Dr. Hall was hastily summoned. And then, 
all at once, without any seeming warning, it happened. 

The last gasping breath faded from the body of El- 
lis s child, and as Jap leaned over to close the wide, 
staring eyes, he could hear the rasping breaths that 
rent Flossy s bosom, as she lay unconscious in the next 

"With God s help we may pull her through," whis 
pered Isabel, twining her arms around his neck. He 
turned stony eyes of grief upon her. 

"If God helps, He will let her go with J. W. to meet 
Ellis," he said in a voice strained to breaking. 

He drew the girl from the chamber of death, and 
sat down beside Flossy s bed. He caught one flutter 
ing, fever-burned hand in his, and the restless mutter 
ing ceased. Then the eyes opened. They seemed to be 
looking not at Jap but above him. 

"Ellis !" she cried, and slept. 

"When she awakes, she will be better or " Dr. 

Hall broke off, and went over to the window. "It s the 
crisis," he finished huskily. 

Flossy, in her quiet, optimistic bravery, had made 
her place in the hearts of her townspeople. Isabel knelt 
beside her, watching Jap s face, with its unnatural 


calm, fearfully. She dared not speak. Bill stood awk 
wardly at the foot of the bed, his cap twirling uncer 
tainly in his hand. His eyes shifted uneasily from 
the thin, white face on the pillow to the frozen features 
of Jap. A clock ticked loudly. 

The thick gloom broke. A tiny linnet that Jap had 
given Flossy fluttered to the swing in its cage and 
burst, all at once, into song, and a vagrant sunbeam 
darted through the western clouds. Flossy opened her 

"Jap," she gasped painfully, "is this the thing called 
Death, this uplift of joy?" 

The doctor raised her in his arms and gave her a few 
sips of medicine. She was easier. She motioned Jap 
to bend closer. 

"Is he gone?" she asked clearly. "Is my boy with 
his father?" 

Jap kissed her forehead gently. 

"He is with Ellis," he whispered. 

"Then I thank You, great Giver of all Good," she 
cried happily, "for I can go now." She summoned 
Bill with her eyes. 

"I want you to make the boy very proud of the men 
he was named for, " she smiled. It was a smile of heav 
enly beauty, as the pure soul of Ellis Hinton s wife 
flew to join her loved ones. 

BILL and Isabel led Jap from the room as the doc 
tor drew the sheet over Flossy s face. Together the 
three left the cottage. In dazed silence they walked 
past the row of modest homes until the business street 
was reached. Across Main street they went, in stony 
silence, the girl clinging to an arm of each of her es 
corts. In front of the elm-shaded residence of Tom 
Granger, now stark and bare in its late autumn un 
dress, they paused. Isabel, unheedful of the passing 
crowd, threw her arms around Jap s neck and kissed 
him passionately. A moment he held her in his arms, 
his tearless eyes burning. And in her awakened wom 
an s heart, she knew that he was looking through her, 
beholding the trio of adored ones whose influence had 
made his heart a fitting habitation for her own. And in 
that consciousness Isabel Granger experienced no 
twinge of jealousy. 

Silently she walked up the brick-paved path to the 
stately old house, as Jap and Bill turned back toward 
Main street. When they reached the office, they locked 
the door behind them. With the mechanical action of 
automata, they climbed to their stools and threw the 
belated issue of the Herald into type. 



"Bill, can you do it?" Jap asked at length. 

"I ll do my best," Bill said huskily. And his tears 
wet the type as he set up a brief obituary notice. 

The morning of the funeral broke clear and sunny, 
as fall days come. The air was clear and sounds echoed 
for long distances. It was a joyous new day, and yet 
a threnody swept through its music. Something of this 
Jap and Bill felt as they hurried to the house of Death. 
Judge Bowers met them at the door. His face was 
red and overcast. He shifted uneasily. 

"I sent for you, because we have to fix things de 
cently for Flossy." 

"Decently?" echoed Bill. 

"Why, yes. Ma and me got the caskets and all that. 
Everything s tended to, but the service. You know 
Flossy was a free-thinker, and never belonged to no 

"Well, what of it?" Bill said shortly. 

"We have got to get somebody to preach a sermon," 
asserted the Judge, his flaccid face showing real con 
cern. "I don t see how we are going to manage it. It 
looks queer to ask anybody to preach over a non-pro 

"Why do it then?" Bill s tone was enigmatic, as he 
followed Jap into the little parlor where the effects of 
the Judge s work were apparent. 

Side by side stood the caskets, each one holding a 
jewel more precious than any diadem. Jap sat down 


between them, dumb to the greetings of the friends who 
came for a last look at the two set faces, and there he 
sat until the afternoon. The room was half filled with 
people when the Judge aroused him by a sharp grip on 
his arm. 

"Come on, Jap," he whispered huskily, "they have 
come for them." 

"Who?" asked Jap, tonelessly. 

"The hearses," said the Judge, his flabby cheeks 

Jap walked outside and climbed into the carriage 
with Bill, and together they went to the church where 
Ellis had met his townsmen for the last time. It was 
the handsome new church whose claim on her brother s 
generosity had called forth from Flossy such righteous 
resentment. Mechanically the two young men fol 
lowed the usher to the pew that had been set apart for 
them. Vaguely Jap smiled at Isabel as she passed him, 
clinging to the arm of her father. As in a dream, he 
followed her slender form as she took her accustomed 
place at the organ. Clutching the arm of the seat, he 
sat there, deaf, dumb and blind, until the wailing notes 
of the organ appraised him that the service was be 

He turned his head as a heavy, rolling sound reached 
him, and looked upon the most heart-shaking sight in 
the history of the town: two coffins traveling up the 
aisles to meet at the altar. Sick and faint, he turned 


his head away. Bill s arm crept around him, while 
Bill sobbed aloud. 

Frozen to silence, Jap stared at the boxes contain 
ing all that linked him to his past. Stony-eyed, he 
gazed at the masses of flowers, casually admiring the 
gorgeous chrysanthemums and the pink glory of the 
carnations. He even read, with calm curiosity, the 
card of sympathy hanging from one of the floral offer 
ings on Flossy s casket. Then he sank into blunt in 
difference until he was aroused by Bill s start. 

He looked up dully. The minister was praying and 
his prayer was for forgiveness for Flossy. 

"She was a wanderer from grace," the ominous voice 
droned, "but Thou who didst forgive the thief on the 
cross wilt grant her mercy." 

Bill clasped his hands fiercely over Jap s arm. His 
breath hissed through his set teeth. Jap sat upright, 
his gray eyes searching the face of the man of God, 
as he drawled through a flock of platitudes, promising 
in the end that on the last great day Flossy and her 
son would be called by the trump to arise, purified and 

Wiping his forehead complacently, he sat down. 

Jap Herron arose to his feet and walked to the coffin 
of the only mother he had ever known. Facing the 
assembly, he said in low, clear tones : 

"Friends of mine, friends of Flossy and her boy, and 
friends of Ellis Hinton, you have listened to this rain- 


ister. Now you must listen to me. I knew Flossy. 
Some of you knew her, but none as I did. She had no 
religion, he says. Flossy Hinton s life was a religion. 
What is religion? Love, faith and works. Dare any 
of you claim that she had not all of these? If such 
soul as hers needs help to carry it through the ram 
parts of heaven, then God help all of you. 

"She will not sleep until a trumpet calls her ! No ! 
Alive and vital and everlasting, her soul is with us now. 
Did Ellis Hinton sleep ? He has never been away. He 
has dwelt right here, in the hearts of all who loved him. 
Friends, dry your eyes if you grieve for the sins of 

Raising his hand above the casket, as if in benedic 
tion, and looking into the face beneath the glass, he said 
brokenly : 

"A saint she lived among us. In heaven she could be 
no more." 

The descending sun shot a ray of white light across 
the church, as it sank below the opaque designs in the 
gorgeous memorial window that flanked the choir. A 
moment later it would be crimson, then purple, then 
amber; but for an instant it filtered through pure, un- 
tinted glass. Creeping stealthily, the white ray reached 
the space in front of the altar and rested a moment 
on the still face within the casket. To Jap it seemed 
that the lips that had always smiled for him relaxed 
into a smile of transcendent beauty. Entranced he 


looked, forgetting all else. Then the strength of his 
young manhood crumbled. The hinges of his knees 
gave way, and he sank to the floor. 

Bill sprang to his side and carried him to a seat. 
Isabel, half distracted, started from her place at the 
organ. As she passed, the white face in the coffin met 
her eyes. She stopped. A tide of feeling swept her 
back, back from Jap, whose limp form called her. The 
song that Flossy had loved came singing to her lips. 
Inspired in that moment, she stood beside the coffin and 
sang, as never before, the words that had comforted 
Flossy in her years of loneliness : 

"Somewhere the stars are shining, 

Somewhere the song birds dwell. 
Cease then thy sad repining! 
God lives, and all is well." 

Her face was glorified. She sang to that silent one, 
and to the world that had been hers. In a dream she 
sang on, as the mother and her boy were taken from 
her sight, sang on while the people silently departed. 
"Somewhere, somewhere," she sang, 

"Beautiful isle of Somewhere, 

Isle of the true, where we live anew, 
Beautiful isle of Somewhere." 

Her voice broke as uncontrollable sobs rent her 
slender body, and she sank against the shoulder of her 


father and followed Bill from the church. Half-a-dozen 
kindly hands were carrying Jap outside. 

The long line of carriages had already started on 
its way to the little plot of ground where two fern-lined 
graves awaited the loved ones of Ellis Hinton. The 
horses of the remaining carriage pawed the ground 
restlessly in the sharp November air. 

"Better take him to his room in a hurry," Dr. Hall 
commanded. "The boy has been through too much. 
I was afraid of this." 

"You can t take him to that dreary office," Isabel 
pleaded. "Papa, tell Dr. Hall what to do." 

And, as always, she had her way. In the sunny 
south room above the library, with the shadows of the 
stark elms doing grotesque dances on the window panes, 
with Isabel and her mother hovering in tender solicitude 
over him, Jap Herron tossed for weeks in the delirium 
of fever, calling always for Flossy. 


"Ms. BOWERS wants to talk to you," Isabel said, 
smoothing Jap s limp hair from his haggard face. "He 
has been here every day for a week, and Mamma 
wouldn t hear to his bothering you, especially as you 
had concluded that you must talk to Bill about the 

"Let him come," said Jap wearily. 

The Judge tramped heavily into the bedroom. 

"I want to talk to you about Flossy s affairs," he de 
clared, dropping into a chair and blowing his nose. 

Jap s face flushed, then paled. He lifted one thin 
hand to his eyes and leaned back in the pillows. 

"I sent for Bill to meet me here and have Brent Rob 
erts read Flossy s will." 

"Why?" Jap s voice rasped with paio. 

"You have been sick nigh a month," said the Judge, 
"and there s a power o things that oughter be seen 
to, and Brent refused to read Flossy s will till you could 
hear it. I want to settle the bills." 

Isabel slipped her arm around Jap s shoulder and 
glared at the Judge. 

"You ought to be ashamed," she cried. "Jap is not 
strong enough to be bothered with business." 



Jap put her aside gently and sat up. 

"The Judge is right, sweetheart," he said. "I will 
not be tired with doing anything for for her." 

He covered his face with his hands. Bill entered 
softly. His brows lowered at sight of his father. 

"What did you want with me and Roberts ?" he quer 
ied shortly. 

"It is all right, Bill," Jap said brokenly. "It will 
hurt whenever it comes, so let s get it done." 

After the will was read Jap lay silent, the tears slip 
ping down his cheeks, for Flossy s will gave all that 
she possessed to her son, Jap Herron. It was made 
the day after she knew that her own child was doomed 
to an early death. 

They filed slowly from the room, even the Judge awed 
by the face of the boy. 

The New Year had turned the corner when Jap was 
moved to the office. Little by little he grew back into 
harness. They did not talk of Flossy in those early 
days. It was not possible. One chill spring day, when 
the grass was greening, and the first blossoms were 
opening among the hyacinths on Ellis s grave, Jap 
walked with Bill to the cemetery. He bent above the 
dried wreaths with their faded ribbons, sodden and 
dinged by the winter s snows. 

"Throw them away, Bill," he choked. "They are 
the tawdry tokens of mourning. I am trying to forget 
that mourning." . 


Bill gathered the dry bundles and carried them 
away. Coming back, he stood looking mournfully upon 
the muddy sod. Jap raised his eyes suddenly, and they 
gazed for a long minute into each other s hearts. Bill 
threw his hands over his eyes and cried aloud. 

"Don t, Bill!" Jap s hand clutched him tightly. 
"For God s sake, help me to be a man!" 

And forgetting the sodden grass, they knelt beside 
the grave and sobbed together in an abandon of grief. 
Boys they were, despite their years, and Flossy had 
been more to them than the mother whom youth is 
prone to take for granted. When the tempest of sor 
row and desolation had spent itself they arose. 

"It is done," said Jap, looking up into the sky where 
the stars were beginning to twinkle palely. "It had to 
be done. Now I can realize that they laid Flossy be 
neath the earth. But, please God, I can forget it. 
Now I know that she has left the beautiful shell behind. 
But, Bill," he touched the mound with his fingers, 
"Flossy has never been here, never for an instant." 

"She is in heaven," said Bill reverently. 

Jap laid his arm around Bill s shoulders. 

"You don t believe that, Bill. You know better. 
Flossy is right with us, as Ellis has always been. Just 
as he has inspired us to develop his paper and his 
town, so she will stay with us, to create good and op 
timism and faith in ourselves. Bill, when those two 
wonderful people came into our lives, they came to stay. 


Do you think Ellis and Flossy would get any joy out 
of strumming on a harp and taking their own selfish 
ease? No, Bill, that s all a mistake. They re working 
right with us, and it s up to you and me to so wholly 
reflect them that we will be to this town what they 
have been to us. In any crisis in our lives, let us not 
forget that Ellis and Flossy Hinton are not dead. We 
may have need to remember it, Bill." 

The next morning he climbed on his stool and took 
the stick in his hand. Bill stopped at the door of 
the composing room, something in Jap s attitude ar 
resting him. 

"What are you going to do, Jap?" 

"Get busy," declared Jap. "We have given out 
enough plate. The Herald is going back on the job." 

Bill felt a lump rise in his throat as he paused to 
finger the copy on his hook. 

"We have to get the drums beating," said Jap. "We 
have to elect Wat Harlow governor, and, believe the 
Barton Standard, we have some rough road to travel." 

And the battle was on ! Alone, the Bloomtown Her 
ald tackled the job of making a governor. Watson 
Harlow had been a familiar figure in state politics for 
more than twenty years, but as gubernatorial timber 
no one had ever regarded him seriously. His opponent, 
on the other hand, was a fresh figure in the state, with 
all the novelty of the unknown quantity about him. 
It was an off year for the dominant party, both locally 


and nationally, and the fight promised to be a compli 
cated one. 

Week by week the battle raged between the types. 
Little by little the country press began to get in the 
fight. Not content with the picturesque drumming 
of his own machine, Jap interested the city press in 
the history of Wat Harlow, the "Lone Pine, of Integ 
rity Absolute." This descriptive title was proclaimed 
in and out of season during the months of battle, 
both before and after the nomination of Harlow and 
Jones. Jap invented a stinger for Bronson Jones. In 
his past history, it was alleged, he had much that were 
better concealed than revealed. Not the least of his 
offenses was that he had assisted his father, a certain 
P. D. Jones, in stealing red-hot cook-stoves from the 
ruins of the Chicago fire. Jap so declared, and he 
offered to prove that Jones had sold these same stoves 
to their former owners, when they became cold. In one 
instance, the victim was a widow who had lost every 
thing, even her former mate, in the fire. And Jones 
carried the title, "The Widow s Friend," for years. 
All this was fun for the city dailies, and cartoons of 
the "Lone Pine" being fed to the "Cook-Stove" alter 
nated with those of the pine falling upon the "Widow s 
Friend" as he was about to sell a stove to the above- 
mentioned widow. 

The color came back to Jap s cheeks, and the battle 
light flamed in his gray eyes. His one relaxation was 


the tranquil hour with Isabel. Harlow, like an uneasy 
ghost, haunted the Herald office when he was not out 
storming the hustings. The Barton Standard contin 
ued to pry into Wat s past, while the Herald continued 
to lift the lid from the chest of Bronson s secret gar 
ments. Unfortunately, the Standard had played its 
big trump card in the congressional campaign. The 
vermilion handbill was once more dragged to light, but 
it worked like a boomerang, for several of Wat s own 
party workers had been caught red-handed in the act 
of attempting to operate a shameless graft game, in the 
name of the university. And Jap utilized the story to 
show that Wat was a man above party, a man in whose 
mind integrity was indeed absolute. 

Argument grew red hot, every place but Bloomtown. 
There, there was no one to argue with. Bloomtown was 
one man for Harlow. Jones undertook to deliver one 
speech there, and that bright hour nearly became his 
last. After the good-natured raillery of the opening 
address, Jones plunged into the vitriolic explosion he 
had delivered at the various places he had spoken. For 
exactly ten minutes it lasted. By that time, Kelly 
Jones had reached Hollins s grocery store and gath 
ered enough eggs to start a protest against the defama 
tion of Wat Harlow s character. And the protest 
was proclaimed unanimous ! 

It was stated that there were no eggs on Bloomtown s 
breakfast table next morning, and no Sunday cakes. 


"But," said the Herald, "if Bronson Jones wants any 
more hen-fruit, the housewives of Bloomtown will cheer 
fully sacrifice themselves in his behalf." 

And so the months sped away until the grass had 
mossed the graves in the cemetery with lush beauty, 
and the three mounds were merged into one by the 
riotous growth of sweet alyssum, Flossy s best loved 
blossom. The summer waned. The autumn hasted, and 
chill winds whispered around the Lone Pine as the 
last sortie was made. Then Bloomtown pressed her 
hands to her throbbing breast and got ready for 
Victory ? 


BILL jumped from bed as the rattle of the latch 
announced the arrival of a visitor. Without waiting 
for the formality of more than a bathrobe, Rosy Ray 
mond s last birthday gift to him, he bolted down the 
stairs and across the office. He flung the door open 
and disclosed the hazy features of Kelly Jones, peering 
at him through the November fog. 

"What, ho ! Kelly, what brings you to our door in 
the glooming?" 

Kelly shook the rain from his slicker and came in 

"Wife called me at three o clock," he announced. 
"Had my breakfast and rid like hell to git to town 
early. I want to cast the fu st vote for Wat for gov 

Bill yawned. 

"You could have ridden more leisurely, and saved us 
a couple of hours sleep," he complained. "There are 
at least a thousand voters of Bloomtown with that same 
laudable intention. Tom Granger has been missing 
since seven o clock last night. It is believed that he is 
locked in the booth so that his vote will skin the rest." 



Kelly looked ruefully back into the rain. 

"I reckon that I will come in and set a while, that 
bein the report." 

"Any man found voting for Jones is to be lynched at 
sunset," declared Bill, pushing a chair forward. 

"Reckon this ll be a big day for the Democrats," 
commented Kelly, stretching his feet across the table 
comfortably. " Tain t nothin to keep em home, so 
they ll kill time, votin . That s why I allus cussed my 
daddy for raisin me a Democrat. Bein as I am one, 
I ve got to stick by and see the durn fools shuckin 
corn while the Republicans are haulin their grand-dad 
dies in town to vote the Republicans in." 

Bill retired to don a few garments and Jap tumbled 
from bed, for this was a big day in Bloomtown. Be 
fore six o clock the roads were lined with vehicles, as 
for an Independence holiday. The county was coming 
in to help the town vote for her favorite son. 

About noon Harlow came creeping up the alley and 
slipped in at the back door. He wore a slicker that he 
had borrowed from some constituent who was short. 
It hung sorrowfully about his knees. Bill remembered 
that in spike-tail coat and white necktie Wat Harlow 
looked enough like a governor to pass for one, but just 
now he resembled nothing so much as a draggled 
rooster. The stove in the little private office hissed 
and sputtered as he shook the rain from the coat. 

"I thought that the only place that victory would 


be complete would be the Herald office," he said, relax 
ing into a chair. "And if we are beat, I could meet it 
better here." He took a paper in his shaking hands and 
tried to read. 

The rain poured in torrents, but Bloomtown cast her 
record vote and not one scurrilous vote against him 
dropped into the ballot box. At sunset a wild yell pro 
claimed that Bloomtown had done her duty. It was 
now up to the rest of the state whether Wat Harlow, 
proclaimed from border to border as an honest man, 
would be its next governor. On his record as opposed 
to State University graft, he had once been elected to 
the legislature when the running was close. On that 
same record, as opposed to higher education, he was 
defeated for United States Congressman, and on that 
same record he was running for governor of his state. 

The Herald office lighted up. All the big men of 
Bloomtown smoked the air blue, waiting for the re 
turns. First good, then crushingly bad, they varied. 
By the tone of the operator s yell, the waiters guessed 
each bulletin. If he came silent, they all coughed and 
waited for some one to take the fatal slip of paper. 
The dawn was graying when they dispersed, with the 
issue still in doubt. It was late afternoon before they 
knew that Harlow was elected. Bill grinned joyously, 
for the first time since Rosy Raymond carried her heart 
to Barton and left it there. 


"How many roosters have we?" he asked impishly, as 
he walked over to the telephone. 

"Why ?" queried Jap. 

"I am going to phone Jones that we want to borrow 
all that he don t need," said Bill, taking the receiver 
from the hook. 

"We done it !" yelled Kelly Jones, slapping his slouch 
hat against the door. "And I m goin over to Barton 
and git on the hell-firedest drunk that that jay town 
ever seen. Whoopee !" And off he set at a run to 
catch the local freight. 

About half of Bloomtown seemed inspired with the 
same spirit, and the freight pulled out amid wild yells 
of joy. Several of the most agile among the jubilant 
ones draped the box cars with strips of faded, soggy 
bunting, and Harlow s picture adorned the cow-catcher. 
The yelling, that had been discontinued for economic 
reasons, was resumed in raucous chorus as the train 
rolled into Barton to celebrate Harlow s victory in 
Jones s town. 

The Bloomtown Herald did itself proud that week. 
A mammoth picture of the Lone Pine stood forth on 
the front page. Around it fluttered one hundred flags. 
Every page sported roosters and flags in each available 
space, between local readers and editorial paragraphs. 
It was a thing of beauty and a joy forever at least to 
Wat Harlow. One other cut found place at the bottom 
of the editorial page. Bill did not forget to boomerang 


Wilfred Jones by reprinting the weeping angel. For a 
week there were bonfires every night, and a number of 
Bloomtown s citizens sought to lighten Barton s woes 
by buying fire-water there. Wat swelled until he looked 
more like a corpulent oak than a lone pine. 

"My house is yours," he cried, alternately wringing 
Jap and Bill by their weary hands. He had come 
across once more from his headquarters in the Court 
House to make sure his appreciation was understood. 
Jap smiled wanly as the village band followed him 
with its intermittent serenade. 

Bloomtown had long since outgrown the village class ; 
but not a drum nor a horn had encroached upon the 
old traditions of that band. Mike Hawkins was far 
too conservative to permit innovation, and as there was 
no provision for retiring the bandmaster on half pay, 
the problem of dividing nothing in half having as yet 
been unsolved, Mike continued to hold the job. All 
day the band had been vibrating between the Court 
House and the Herald office, having delivered ten sere 
nades at each side of Main street, for it was understood 
that the Herald shared the victory with Harlow. As 
the Governor-elect retreated to the other side of the 
street, the band at his heels, Bill groaned aloud. 

"I wish that that bunch of musicians had had more 
confidence that Wat was going to get it," he sighed, 
"so that they could have learned one tune good." 

Kelly Jones was capering down the street. Kelly 


had absorbed enough of Barton booze to make him be 
lieve he owned the half of Bloomtown that did not be 
long to Wat Harlow. Pie had been having what Bill 
described as "one large, full time." As he came in 
sight, Bill s brow darkened. 

"I ve been afraid that Kelly would burst and catch 
fire," he said morosely, "and now, by jolly, I wish he 
would. It s funny how much your good friends will get 
in your way when they pair off with John Barleycorn. 
Kelly is certainly one ding-buster when he is lit up." 

Jap leaned from the door to watch the procession 
that had formed for the purpose of escorting Wat Har 
low to the station. 

"Kelly s time is wrinkling," he laughed. "Here 
comes Mrs. Kelly Jones, with worriment on her brow." 

Bill ran his inky fingers through his hair. Some 
thing was troubling him. 

"Jap," he said as he walked toward the door of the 
composing room, "that skunk of a Jones " 

"Who? Kelly?" 

"Oh, no." Bill wheeled, and his face was deadly ear 
nest. "Kelly s not a skunk, even when he has soaked 
up all the rotgut in Barton. But I had Kelly Jones 
in the back of my head, just the same, when I men 
tioned the honorable Editor of the Barton Standard. 
It s getting under my skin, Jap, the way he has of 
tempting these Bloomtown fools over to his filthy vil 
lage to get the booze we won t let em have at home, 


and then holding them up to ridicule when they make 
asses of themselves." 

"It s one of the angles of this problem that I haven t 
figured out yet," Jap said earnestly. "Do you think 
it would do any good to go gunning for Jones?" 

"I ve thought of that possibility several times," and 
Bill s tone was not entirely humorous. 

Jap shoved his stool to the case. As he climbed upon 
it, he sighed uneasily. It had been sixteen months since 
Wilfred Jones turned the neat trick that left Bill dis 
consolate, and still the venom lingered in the bereft 
boy s heart. To Jap, with his standard of womanhood 
established by Flossy and Isabel, the thing was mon 
strous, inconceivable. And yet it was a fact to be 

"We ll have to get busy, Bill," he said. "We ve got 
enough job work on the hooks to keep us up till mid 
night for a week. We haven t done a thing the last 
month but elect Wat Harlow." 

"I hope to grab he won t run for another office till I 
have six sons to help me," Bill snorted. 

Jap heaved a sudden sigh of relief. 

"Looking out again, Bill?" he asked, jerking his 
thumb in the direction of the vacant photograph frame 
above Bill s case. 


IT was the day after Thanksgiving. Bill was twirl 
ing the chambers of his revolver around. His face was 
grim. Jap halted in the door of their bedroom. 

"Going gunning for Jones?" he asked lightly. 

Bill turned, and the black look on his face startled 

"I am," he said deliberately, "and I will come back to 
jail or in my coffin." 

Jap caught the revolver from his hand. 

"Bill," he said sharply, "wake up!" 

Bill threw a letter to him, and continued his hasty 
toilet. Jap read: 

"Dear Will, 

"Come to me. I am almost crazy. Wilfred accused 
me of giving you information against his father that 
beat him in the election, and he struck me in the mouth. 
He said he only married me to spite you, and he hates 
me. I will meet you at the section house, where the 
train slows up for the switch, at six o clock. I want 
you to take me away, I don t care where. I don t love 
anybody but you, and I can t live with Wilfred another 



night. I don t care whether anybody ever speaks to me 
again, if you will take me and love me. 

"Your distracted ROSALIE." 

Jap stared at the note as if it had been a snake- 
tressed Medusa that turned him to stone. He stood 
rigid and paralyzed as Bill said, deadly calm: 

"I am going to Barton, and I am going to shoot 
that dog." 

"And after that?" Jap s voice was toneless. 

"After that !" Bill broke out fiercely. "After that, 
what more?" 

Jap drew Bill around to face him. Rivers of fire 
seemed suddenly to course through his body, and an 
unprecedented rage burned up within him. 

"You are not going to Barton, and you are not go 
ing to meet that foolish light-o -love at the section 
house," he said sternly. 

"Who will stop me? Not you, Jap, for even if an 
angel from heaven tried to bar my way, I would brush 
it aside. I wanted to kill him when he stole her away 
and " 

Jap shook him angrily. 

"No one stole her, Bill. Have you forgotten the in 
solent, flippant letter she wrote you?" 

Bill shook Jap s hand from his shoulder. 

"It s no use, Jap. I am going to kill him !" 


Jap set his teeth and his gray eyes blazed as he 
gripped Bill s arms and shoved him into a chair. 

"I will have you locked up, you foolish hot-head," 
he exclaimed, "and give Wilfred Jones a few hours to 
consider his attitude toward his wife. She is his wife, 
Bill, and all your heroics won t gloss that fact from 
sight. Do you want to hang, because you were a 
damned fool? I can consider a romantic close to your 
career, but not as an intruder in another man s home 
no matter how great your feeling of injustice. Rosy 
was not a child when she married Wilfred Jones." 

"But he struck her," gulped Bill. 

"I have known times," declared Jap vehemently, 
"when, if I had been of the fibre of Wilfred Jones, I 
would have felt satisfaction in thrashing Rosy Ray 
mond. Not having been Jones, I had to content myself 
with kicking the furniture around. I don t want to rile 
you, Bill, but I rather think there are two sides to this 
story, and I want to hear both sides. If it is proven 
that Jones has mistreated Rosy brutally, I will hold 
him while you give him the licking he deserves. More 
than that, I will help Rosy to get a divorce. Isn t that 
fair enough, Bill? What is revenge upon a dead body, 
especially if you expiate that revenge on the gallows? 
Tell me, who profits? For the woman, disgrace. For 

you Humph ! the only one who comes out of it 

honorably is the dead man, Jones." 

Bill glowered at him. 


"You had no mother, Bill, because she died when she 
gave you to the world. I had no mother, because Provi 
dence gave me where I was a burden. But God gave 
both of us a mother. Bill, before you go any farther 
with this adventure misadventure I want you to 
kneel with me before Flossy s picture and ask for her 
approval and her blessing. Because, Bill, brother, she 
knows. And what do you suppose will be her counsel? 
What would Flossy want you to do?" 

He took the photograph from the table and held it 
out to Bill. The brown eyes remained downcast. The 
hands opened and closed spasmodically. Jap lowered 
the picture so that Bill s eyes could not choose but 
meet the loved face. A great, gulping sob shook him, 
and he dashed into the other room and slammed the 
door. Jap s tense features relaxed into a smile. He 
knew that Flossy had won. 

"Will you let me go to Barton instead of you?" he 
asked through the closed door. There was no reply, 
and he turned the knob. Bill was staring stolidly 
from the window. "I won t carry healing oil if the 
case doesn t call for it," he insisted. "You will believe 
me, boy?" 

"It s your job," Bill said, in smothered, tear- 
drenched tones. 

"I can just make the 5:20," said Jap, as he caught 
up his hat and overcoat from the foot of the bed where 


he had flung them. Then he hurried to the station, 
with Rosy s foolish letter in his pocket. 

Without looking to right or left he boarded the train 
that would have carried Bill to his love tryst. Already 
the evening shadows were beginning to settle, and it 
was almost dark when the local train ran into the sid 
ing to permit the east-bound special to pass. He stood 
on the steps of the rear coach as the wheels crunched 
with the stopping of the train. Then he dropped 
quietly to the ground. The special, that was wont to 
throw dust in the eyes of both Bloomtown and Barton, 
came thundering by, and the friendly local took up its 
westward journey. 

Jap hurried over to the cloaked figure that crouched 
in the shadow of the little section house. Rosy crept 
out quickly, but retreated with a cry of alarm when 
she saw that Jap, and not Bill, was coming to meet her. 
He caught her by the arm and drew her into the light 
of an electric bulb that glowed above the section boss s 
door. Scanning her silly face for a moment, he said 
sharply : 

"So you lied to Bill! There is no mark of a blow 
on your face." 

"He he did push me," she sobbed. "And I don t love 
him, anyway. It was your fault that I ran away with 

"My fault?" echoed Jap. 

"Yes," she said, and her tone rasped with cruel spite. 


"What girl wants to have her sweetheart only half 
hers? Jap Herron only had to twist his thumb, and 
Bill would run like a foolish girl. I wanted a whole man 
or none." 

"Seems that you got one," commented Jap, "and 
don t appreciate him. Now, Rosy, if you think you 
are going to ruin three lives by starting this kind of 
a play, I am going to undeceive you. I am going to 
take you home and look into this affair." 

"I won t go !" she screamed. "He would kill me." 

"What did you do?" demanded Jap, holding her 

"I wrote him a note that I had run away with Bill," 
she confessed sullenly. 

For the first time Jap became conscious of the suit 
case at her feet. His grip on her arm tightened until 
she cried with pain. 

"You idiotic little fool," he ground between his teeth. 
"Where is your husband?" 

"He went to the city this morning. He said he d 
come home on the local if he got through his business 
in time. Otherwise he wouldn t come till the midnight 
train. I thought Bill could get a rig and drive to 
Faber. I thought he could take me away somehow be 
fore Wilfred got the news." 

"News ? Great God !" cried Jap. "And such as you 
could win the golden heart of Bill Bowers ! Come with 
me. If your husband takes the late train, there is still 


time to destroy that note. , If he is already at 

"He d go to the office first, anyway," Rosy cried. 
"But I don t want to go home." 

"You re going home, no matter what the conse 
quences," Jap told her. "And if you ever attempt to 
communicate with Bill again, I will have you put in 
an asylum. You are not capable of going through life 

He walked her rapidly up the railroad track and 
through the streets that lay between the business part 
of Barton and her own pretty home. On the corner 
opposite the house he stopped, while she ran across the 
street in terror and rushed up the steps. She had told 
him that if all was yet well, she would appear at the 
window. As he stood there, his eyes glued on the great 
square of glass, some one touched him on the arm. He 
turned. It was Wilfred Jones. 

"Well, Daddy-long-legs," he said brusquely. "You 
think you turned a pretty trick. Well, it was a fair 
fight, and I m all over it." 

Jap shook his hand mechanically, his eyes seeking 
the window from which Rosy was peering. 

"Tell Bill that bygones must be bygones," Jones con 
tinued, "for we want to get the two papers together 
on the main issue. The old man will come in on the sen- 
atorship on the strength of his race for governor. And 
I want to tell you a secret that makes me very happy 


and will make Bill feel different. The doctor has 
just told me that these queer spells and moods that 
Rosalie has been having lately mean Jap, do you 
understand? I will be a father before summer!" 

Jap wrung Jones s hand, a whirl of fancies going 
through his head. As he sought for suitable words of 
congratulation, a boy ran up. 

"I been chasin all over town ahuntin for you, Mr. 
Herron," he said breathlessly. "I got a telegram for 

Trembling with dread, Jap tore it open and read : 

"Come home at once. Your sister Agnesia is 
here. BILL." 


THE streets were deserted as Jap came from the sta 
tion. In his state of mind, he did not reflect on the od 
dity of this circumstance. But had he reflected, the 
condition of traffic congestion at *the corner near 
Blanke s drug store and the further congestion in 
front of the bank would have enlightened him. All the 
business men of Bloomtown, who had rushed to the Her 
ald office with important advertisements or news items, 
were reluctantly giving place to those who had discov 
ered a sudden want of letter-heads. 

The telegraph office at Bloomtown was no secret re 
pository, and in less than ten minutes after Bill had 
telegraphed Jap to hurry home the whole street knew 
that the beautiful vision that arrived on the 5 :20 was 
Jap Herron s sister, Agnesia. And forthwith traffic 
filed that way. 

The vision arose as Jap entered the front door, and 
waited until he came into the private office. It was 
apparent that Bill had played host, to the limit of his 
meager resources. Agnesia s hat and fur-trimmed 
coat lay on the table of exchanges. 

"Well, Jappie," she laughed in silvery tones, "how 
long you are !" 



He took her little ringed hands in his and looked at 
her silently. Agnesia was the beauty of the family. 
Her golden curls fluffed bewitchingly about her face 
and her wide blue eyes smiled affectionately. 

"You are grown, too, Aggie. I have been thinking 
of you as a very little 

"Mercy !" she broke in. "Please, Jappie, don t drag 
that awful name to light. When I went to the new 
home, they mercifully killed Agnesia. I have been Ma- 
belle Hastings so long that I had almost forgotten Ag 
gie Herron. I gave that hideous name to your friend," 
she flung a gold-flashed smile at Bill, "because you had 
no sister Mabelle in the old days. Our folks made a 
bad selection of names for their progeny. And why 
Jasper? Why didn t they put the James first? It 
sounds so much more human." 

"Not a bit of it!" declared Bill. "What is there 
about James? This town had to have its Jap Herron. 
No substitute would have made good." 

She slipped a glance through her long lashes at Bill. 

"I called him Jappie, " she confided. "I was a 
lisping baby and couldn t say Jasper. Dear old 
Jappie, how he slaved for me ! And I was a tyrant, 
demanding service every minute of the day." 

Jap s face clouded. "Aggie is a bigbug now," came 
surging into his memory, as a wizened face obtruded 
itself between the laughing eyes of his sister and his 


own. The girl noted the swift change. She took his 
hand, her voice quivering with appeal. 

"I know what you are thinking about," she said. 
"But I could not help it, Jappie. We don t have to 
keep up the pretense before Mr. Bowers. He knows 
the worst, I take it. Jappie, you may not remember, 
but when Mrs. Hastings adopted me, my mother had 
reported that she would either turn me out or give me 
to the county. Afterward my foster-mother took me 
away from Happy Hollow when she saw that our 
mother was bringing disgrace on all of us. She sacri 
ficed her home and moved far enough away so that no 
smirch could come to me. You don t know, brother, 
and I would never want you to know the dreadful things 
she did. I had not heard from her since she married 
that drunken brute, until she came to the house one hot 
day. When she found no one at home, she laid down 
on the porch and went to sleep, drunk and unspeakably 
filthy. She was there when we returned with a party 
of friends. Can you imagine it, Jappie?" 

Jap nodded his head slowly. 

"Mrs. Hastings had her taken out of town, and told 
her if she came there again she would have her put in 
an asylum for drunkards. After that she threatened 
to descend upon Fanny Maud. Fanny could not af 
ford to have her career spoiled. Perhaps we were cruel. 
I read the scorching letter you wrote to Fanny after 
her after mother s death. But Fanny was not angry 


with you, and and she was willing to have me come 
to you now. Next spring she will graduate in vocal 
music from the highest university in the country, and 
then she goes to Paris to study under the artists there. 
Jappie, she has made a large part of it, herself, teach 
ing and singing in the church choir, and studying 
whenever she had enough money ahead. At last Uncle 
Francis died and left her a snug little sum, and she went 
to New York, where they say her voice is a wonder. We 
should be proud of her. She wants you to come with me 
in June to hear her sing when she graduates." 

Jap stared at the floor. She laid her hand coaxingly 
on his shoulder. 

"Of course Jap will go !" Bill s brown eyes were glow 
ing. Jap looked across at him in astonishment and 
wonder. His brain reeled. The day had been too full. 

"And you?" the girl queried, smiling into those danc 
ing brown eyes. 

"We can t both go at once," he blurted. "The paper 
has to come out on time." 

She arose and wandered through the rooms that oc 
cupied the lower floor of the building, stepping from a 
hasty and uncomprehending glance at the press room 
and the composing room to dwell with critical eye on 
the big, bare office. 

"You need a little fixing up," she commented. "You 
should have a nice rug and shades, and a roll-top des,k 
and swivel chair." 


"So we should," lamented Bill, looking around with 
an air of disapproval. "But not having anybody to 
tell us He stopped short, embarrassed. 

"I guess that I will have to keep house for Jappie, 
and boss the office too. That is, if you want me, Jap- 
pie," she appealed. "Mrs. Hastings died last March, 
and I have been with Fanny ever since. My foster- 
mother left me well provided for. I won t be a burden, 
Jappie," she cried. "We have all made good. We 
must rejoice together." 

Bill was half way across the office in his excitement. 

"You can take Flossy s house," he burst out. "It s 
ready any time, because Pap had it completely over- 
hauled after the tenants moved out. It s the only 

ready-furnished house in Bloomtown and " His 

voice lowered and there was a note of wistfulness in it. 
"Jap, Flossy would be so happy !" 

Jap surveyed his erstwhile desperate friend with a 
gleam of merriment. As yet, Bill did not know but 
that his sacrificing partner was a fugitive from the law. 
He had not even remembered to ask about the well-being 
of Wilfred Jones and his wife. 

"Perhaps Aggie Mabelle," he hastily corrected, "is 
just joking. She would hardly like to bury herself in 
this little town after New York. There would be so 
little to compensate." 

"Oh, I don t fear that I will regret New York," said 
Mabelle, letting her blue eyes dwell on Bill s ingenuous 


countenance for a throbbing moment. "Really, Jappie, 
there s nothing to regret." 

Bill s heart turned over twice. His face was ap 
pealing. He met Jap s dancing eyes defiantly. 

"Well," said Jap, "you might get the keys and show 
the cottage to Ag Mabelle, and see how much enthu 
siasm it provokes. Perhaps it would make a better 
first impression by electric light. Here, put an extra 
bulb in your pocket, if one happens to be missing," and 
he drew out the table drawer, where many things lay 

Bill was helping Mabelle on with her coat, his well- 
set body charged with electricity that was strangely 
illuminating to Jap. As the two left the office, a few 
minutes later, a teasing voice called after them: 

"Remember, Bill, that you took on a pile of orders 
this evening, and we were loaded to the guards with 
job work already." 


JAP looked up as a shadow fell across the door of 
the composing room. 

"Well," he queried quizzically, "what about it?" 

"Well," Bill repeated, drawing the girl into the 
room after him, "Mabelle thinks that the cottage needs 
a bathroom and about a wagon load of plumbing, be 
sides paint and paper. Otherwise, it s all right." 

Mabelle slipped past him and approached the case. 
Standing on tiptoe beside the high stool, she laid a 
hand coaxingly on the strong, angular shoulder. 

"Now, Jappie, boy, iron out that worry-frown. I 
am going to do the fixing up myself. It shan t cost you 
a cent." 

"No!" Jap exploded. 

"Now, dear boy, forget your pride. I have lots and 
lots of money, and this is to be my home." 

"The firm is not insolvent," suggested Bill. 

"It isn t a matter for the firm," Jap said gravely. 
"The cottage belongs to me, and we can t allow our 
finances to get mixed. I m willing to have you put in 
all the repairs that I can afford." 

His mind reverted to Flossy, happy and clean with 
out a bathroom. 



"Let me take a mortgage on the property for what 
ever the work costs," Mabelle pleaded, her lips pucker 
ing irresistibly. 

Jap descended from the stool and caught her in his 
arms. Somehow she had, all at once, become his baby 
sister again. The episode of the straw stack loomed 
before him. She had puckered her lips just like that 
when she fled to him for protection. With little co 
quettish touches, she slipped one arm around his neck, 
while she smoothed his red locks gently. Bill, looking 
on, was overcome by an unaccountable restlessness. 

"What a pity Isabel isn t home !" he blurted. And 
Bill never knew why he had recourse to Isabel at that 
moment. The observation bore the desired fruit. Ma- 
belle freed herself from her brother s embrace, with the 
pained exclamation: 

"Isabel not at home! Oh, Jappie, I have just been 
waiting for you to tell me about her. Ever since we 
read in the paper and the one little reference to her 
in your letter to Fanny- 
She stopped, her blue eyes filling with tears. 

"They went away just after the election was over," 
Bill explained. "Iz wouldn t leave Jap while the thing 
was in doubt, not even for her mother." 

"I don t think that s quite square," Jap interposed. 
"Mrs. Granger didn t want to go at all, and only con 
sented when Dr. Hall told her how ill Isabel was. The 
rest of us knew that Mrs. Granger couldn t live through 


another winter here; but he had to make Isabel s poor 
health the pretext when he sent them to Florida for 
the cold weather." 

"Is she is she seriously sick?" Mabelle asked tremu 
lously. "The mother, I mean." 

"It s a desperate hope, a kind of last resort," Bill 
vouchsafed. "I heard Doc Hall talking to Tom Gran 
ger in the bank, the morning before they left. He said 
ht didn t want to scare him, but he wanted to prepare 
him for the worst, I thought." 

"I m sure if Isabel were at home, she d insist on your 
coming right to her," Jap said slowly. "Bill and I 
have been bunking together up there," he jerked his 
thumb in the direction of the ceiling. "We have a 
bedroom and a little combination living-room, dressing- 
room and library. The library s Bill s part. We take 
our meals at the hotel, down in the next block. The 
hotel isn t bad for a town of this size." 

"Oh, I ve already met the hotel," Mabelle laughed. 
"Bill Mr. Bowers took me there to dinner this eve 
ning while we were waiting for you to come home." 

"Aw, chuck that Mr. Bowers, " Bill interrupted. 
"I m plain Bill to everybody in this town, and I guess 
Jap s sister can call me that." 

"The hotel, as I was saying," Jap resumed, "will 
have to take care of you for the present till you can 
get a bathroom attachment for the cottage. It ll prob 
ably be lonely for you, just at first." 


"I ll see to it that Mabelle meets all the best people in 
town," Bill offered. 

The temporary housing problem settled, they re 
turned to the discussion of repairs necessary and re 
pairs superfluous. After two hours of parley, Jap 
consented to let his energetic sister work her will on 
Flossy s cottage. It was after midnight when the girl 
had been established in her room at the hotel, and Jap 
and Bill tumbled into bed. The shank of that night 
had wrought miracles for unsuspecting Bloomtown. 
A vision of blue eyes, red lips and golden tresses kept 
floating through Bill s dreams, a vision that bore not 
the least resemblance to Rosy Raymond. Meanwhile 
Jap stalked through one dream controversy after an 
other with plumbers, painters and the other defilers of 
Flossy s home. 

By noon on Monday Mabelle had Bloomtown by the 
ears, and by the end of the week it was all up with Bill. 
Jap had to hire a boy to help get out the Herald. It 
consumed all of Bill s time threatening and cajoling 
merchants into the prompt delivery of supplies, and 
seeing to it that the workmen were on the job when 
Mabelle arrived at the cottage in the morning. Bloom- 
town carpenters, paper hangers and plumbers usually 
took their own sweet time. They had a great awaken 
ing when Mabelle employed them. With Bill to pour 
oil on the troubled waters, strikes were narrowly 


One morning, soon after the radiant one arrived, 
Kelly Jones wandered into the office, where a lively 
dispute with the boss plumber was under way. In ten 
minutes, Kelly had fallen a victim to the little tyrant. 

" Tain t no use talkin about her gittin along with 
out a cellar," he confided to Jap. "I ll dig it myself, and 
that ll save all this row about how the pipes is got to 
run. I ain t got nothin much to do, now the corn s all 
in. And it s lucky we ain t had a hard freeze. The 
ground s fine for diggin ," and the following morning he 
was on the job. 

For two months Bloomtown was demoralized. A cel 
lar made possible a furnace, and the elimination of 
stoves called for a fireplace in the living-room, a fire 
place framed in by soft blue and yellow tiles. One 
by one Mabelle added her receipted bills to the packet 
of documents that would go into the making of that 
mortgage on Jap s property. One by one the house 
wives of Bloomtown demanded of their paralyzed hus 
bands bathrooms, cellars, furnaces, tiled fireplaces. 

At last the agony was over. A load of furniture 
had arrived from the city, and Bill, as usual, left his 
stickful of type and hastened to superintend the trans 
fer of it from the freight depot to the cottage. The 
evening shadows were lengthening in the office when 
he returned. Jap had gone up-stairs to get out a 
rush order on the job press, and there was a little com 
motion on the stairway just before Bill presented him- 


self, his brown eyes full of trouble. Jap looked at him, 
and his heart sank. Had it come to this? Mabelle, in 
spite of her scanty years, was older than Bill. She 
must have known. The whole town knew. 

"For goodness sake, Bill, don t pi this galley," he 
shouted, bending over the imposing stone. "Look where 
you re going. I wish that Mabelle would wake to the 
fact that you have a half-hearted interest in this office. 
She thinks you have nothing to do but keep tagging 
on her errands." 

The office cat rubbed her sleek side against Bill s leg. 

"Get out and let me alone!" he screamed, jumping 
with nervous irritation. 

"Don t do that, Bill," Jap said firmly. "What s the 
matter with you, anyway? You are as pernickety as a 
setting hen, as Kelly said yesterday. When even Kelly 
begins to notice your aberrations it s time for you to 
get a wake-up. Are you sick? Have things gone 

Bill walked over to the window and ran his thumb 
down the pane of glass absently. 

"Jap, have you that mortgage handy all that busi 
ness that Mabelle gave you?" 

Jap went to the safe and took out the packet of 

"Why?" he asked, as he glanced through the long 
list of items. "Has my sister thought of anything else 


she absolutely needs? In another week, I ll owe her 
more than the cottage is worth." 

Bill took the documents gingerly. His mobile face 

"I I want to take up the deeds," he stammered. 

Jap whirled to face him. 

"You see," stuttered Bill, "I that is, we Mabelle 
and I, we " 

Jap sprang forward, lithe as a panther, and caught 
Bill by the arm. Drawing him to the light, he looked 
full in the embarrassed face. 

"Where is she?" he shouted. "Where is that sister 
of mine? Where is she hiding?" 

The girl came from the dark hall, her eyes defiant, 
her head set with charming insolence on one side. Jap 
struggled with his self-possession an instant. Then a 
great, gurgling laugh shook his shoulders as he gath 
ered the pair into his long arms. 

"Golly Haggins !" the expletive of his boyhood leaped 
to his lips, "I m glad the agony is over. Now perhaps 
we will be able to get the Herald to our subscribers 
on time." 


"TOM GRANGER got a telegram," announced Bill, 
coming into the office one morning early in April. "He 
wants to see you at once, Jap." 

Jap s face blanched. He looked dumbly at Bill. 

"No, it s not her," Bill hastened to say. "It s her 

Jap stumbled awkwardly up the walk to the Gran 
ger home. The letters from Isabel had been far from 
reassuring, and only the previous day Dr. Hall had 
sounded a warning that the care of the invalid was too 
much for the girl, taxed as she was in both mind and 
body. Into Jap s consciousness there crept the thought 
that she had never fully recovered from those terrible 
weeks when she hovered over him. 

Tom Granger met him at the door. His eyes were 
red with weeping. He drew Jap into the parlor and 
gave him two telegrams. 

"This came at midnight," he said brokenly. Jap 

"Mother sinking. Come. ISABEL." 

"And this just arrived," Granger choked, as the fatal 
words met Jap s eye: 



"Mother dying. Come. Bring Jap. ISABEL." 

"The train leaves in half an hour. I don t have to 
ask you anything, my boy." 

Jap turned and hastened away. He did not weaken 
Granger s feeble strength with words of sympathy. 

It was the afternoon of the second day when the two 
stood with Isabel at the foot of the bed. Alice Granger 
lifted her heavy lids, and a gleam of recognition shone 
in her eyes. Swiftly those two, the husband and the 
child, drew near, eager for any word that might pass 
the stiffening lips. Jap stood looking sorrowfully down, 
on her as they knelt at her side. 

"Jap," she whispered, "you, too," and her feeble 
fingers drew him. 

With a choked sob he knelt beside Isabel. The 
mother fumbled with the covers until her hand, icy 
cold, touched his. Instantly his firm, strong hand 
closed over it. She smiled and murmured: 

"Tom. Isabel." 

They leaned over her in a panic of fear. 

"Isabel s hand," she breathed, and placed the two 
hands together. "Tom, there is time," she whispered; 
"I want She sank helpless. 

"I know what you would say," cried Granger, the 
tears streaming down his face. "You want him to be 
our son before before you say good-bye." 

A flash of joy illumined her thin face. She sighed 


A minister was hastily summoned, and a half hour 
later Isabel sobbed her grief in the arms of her husband, 
as they stood awaiting the coming of the Death Angel. 

"It made such a difference in her feeling toward you, 
your illness at our house," Tom said, looking down 
upon her closed eyes and fluttering lips. "She never 
understood you, and in her quiet way she was always 
reserving judgment, when I used to talk so much about 
you. A mother finds it hard to think any man is the 
right one for her only child, and she was so dependent 
on Isabel. She hadn t any doubts, after she saw you 
in that dreadful fever, with all your soul laid bare to 
us. She knew Isabel would be safe, and after that she 
stopped worrying." 

A grim hand caught at Jap s throat, as Tom sank 
on his knees and buried his face in the pillow to smother 
his sobs. Into his memory there came the words of 
Flossy : "When your mother came, there was a reve 
lation. I don t fear for your future now. And when I 
knew this, Jap, I suddenly felt tired and old." 

Flossy had clung to life until he had found the woman 
who could take her place. Then, all at once, she let 
go. And now Alice Granger, an invalid for twenty- 
three years, had relaxed her feeble hold on life when 
she knew that her child was in safe and gentle hands. 
Must Death forever draw its grim fingers between him 
and his happiness? He looked at his bride, fragile as 
a spring flower, and a great fear rushed over him. 


Dumb, he stood there, stroking Isabel s hair with fu 
tile caresses. 

At last the glazing eyes opened, and Alice Granger 
said faintly: 

"Tom, not alone." 

"Not alone?" he cried in anguish. "Always alone 
without you, Alice." 

She only smiled and then she fell asleep. 

It was a strange wedding journey. Between the 
half-crazed father and the exhausted wife, Jap was 
taxed to the uttermost. Isabel, for once helpless, lay 
white and silent in the compartment, too weak to do 
more than cling to her one tower of strength, while 
Tom Granger rent Jap s sympathetic heart with his 
unreasoning grief. At length nature demanded her 
own ; from sheer exhaustion they slept. Jap left them 
alone and stood out on the platform between the 

"Is my life always to hold grief?" he queried of his 
soul. A throb of fear tore at his consciousness. Isa 
bel s death-white face arose before him. 

"No !" he cried fiercely, "there is a God. He will 
not take all from me." 

He went back into the car and, kneeling beside his 
sleeping wife, prayed rnadly to his God for mercy. 

The grasses were green along the tracks, and the 
blue violets lifted their rain-washed faces as the fa-> 


miliar stations loomed in sight near the journey s end. 
At the last station below Bloomtown, Bill and Dr. Hall 
entered the sleeper. 

"We have everything arranged," Dr. Hall said to 
Jap, while Bill fought with his tears. "Isabel Gran 
ger has gone through too much to stand the harrowing 
experience of a funeral. The carriages are waiting, and 
it has all been attended to at the cemetery. We ll just 
have a short service out there, and I want you to keep 
her in the carriage with you. Bill and I did things with 
a high hand, but it had to be so. I wouldn t risk hav 
ing the girl look into her mother s grave. She couldn t 
stand it." 

The platform was crowded with friends, and Tom 
Granger was responding to sympathetic greetings with 
tears he did not try to hold. Jap half carried Isabel 
to the nearest carriage, and Dr. Hall took his place 
with them. Bill had hurried to meet Mabelle, who tact 
fully drew Tom Granger into the second carriage, in 
which the minister sat waiting. In a dream the well 
known landmarks of Bloomtown passed before Jap s 
eyes. There was the quick jolt that marked the cross 
ing of the railroad tracks, and then the cool green of 
the cemetery came into view. 

While the brief service was read, Jap held Isabel 
tight to his aching breast. His eyes wandered away 
beyond the yellow mound of earth, and in the hazy dis 
tance he saw his City of Hope. The young grass smiled 


above the mounds that held the empty shells of those 
he had loved, the first in all the world who had loved him. 
On Flossy s straight white shaft he read "I Hope." 
That was all. 

After the slow cortege had moved its way back to 
town, Mabelle left the carriage and approached her 
brother. Bill, with his face frankly tear-stained, was 
beside her. The coachman had descended from his box, 
and was opening the door. 

"Let me take her let me take your sweetheart to 
our cottage," she pleaded. Leaning past him, she took 
one of Isabel s black-gloved hands. "Dear, I am Jap- 
pie s sister. I want to have you with me until you 
are better." 

Tom Granger sat up and leaned out of the carriage, 
so that all could hear him. 

"Jap is coming home with us," he said. "He is my 
son. He was married to Isabel just before her mother 
left us." 

And it was thus that after well-nigh three years of 
waiting Bloomtown celebrated the long-expected hap 
piness of her best loved son. 


ISABEL had a long, lingering illness. It was plainly 
impossible for Jap and Mabelle to go to New York to 
see Fanny Maud make her debut. Mabelle had been a 
ministering angel, so faithful in her care of the invalid 
that an unreasoning jealousy blotted the grin of con 
tentment from Bill s face as he uncomplainingly took 
the brunt of work at the office. Jap was too abstracted 
to notice the Associate Editor s woe. One day, when 
rosy June was just bursting its buds, he glanced hur 
riedly through the columns of the Herald, still damp 
from the press. He started, and looked keenly at Bill. 
Second column, first page, under a double head that 
reduced the day s political sensation to minor impor 
tance, he read: 


"Whew !" he whistled. Bill looked up. The red flew 
to his cheeks. 

"Both boys," he commented, folding papers rapidly. 
"Be in line for pages, when old Brons lands in the Halls 
of Justice." 

Jap hurried home to tell the news. Isabel, still pale 



and weak, was lying in the hammock on the screened 
porch. She laughed, her old merry laugh, when Jap 
told her of Rosy Raymond s achievement. Mabelle 
tossed her yellow curls. 

"Well, I don t think she was worrying Bill," she 

"There is no heavier blow to romance than twins," 
Jap said. 

"Maybe she will call them Jap and Bill," crisped 
Mabelle, and stopped short when her brother walked 
abruptly to the other end of the porch. 

"I hope that it won t fluster you to know that Bill 
and I are going to be married before Fanny Maud 
leaves for Europe," she flung at him. "I want that 
haughty sister of mine to know that I am marrying a 
real man." 

Jap came swiftly back. 

"Have you taken Bill into your confidence, Sis?" he 
asked, patting Isabel s shoulder gently, as he smiled 
his whimsical smile at Mabelle. 

"You re naughty to tease her so," his wife chided. 

"Bill and I are going to New York on our wedding 
trip, just as soon as Isabel can spare me. I want 

Fanny Maud to see " She stopped, then took the 

bit in her teeth. "Jappie, you never knew why I ran 
away from New York last Thanksgiving. Of course I 
told Bill all about it long ago. Fanny and I certainly 
don t agree when it comes to men. I can t imagine she 


will approve of Bill, after the one she picked for me." 

Further confidence was cut short by the appearance 
of Bill, turning the corner. She arose and ran to meet 

"Poor Bill," Jap laughed, as the two came arm in 
arm up the shady lawn. 

Before her designs upon Bill could be executed, a 
strange thing happened. Fanny Maud and a company 
of musicians made a summer concert tour. It was 
only a little run from the city, and such an aggregation 
of artists as Bloomtown s wildest dreams had never 
visioned descended upon the town. The hotel was taxed 
to its uttermost capacity, with six song birds, an 
orchestra, three lap dogs, and an Impresario whose 
manner implied that he had designs other than profes 
sional on the leading soprano. Her stay was short, 
and left an impression of perfume, fluffy ruffles, French 
and haste. Her manager consented to have her sing 
for Jap and Isabel. 

Bloomtown stood out in the road, listening, agape. 
Perhaps Kelly Jones had been to Barton that summer 
night, for he declared that cats were climbing out of 
Tom Granger s chimneys, screeching for help, and a 
man kept scaring them worse by howling at them. 
When Fanny Maud reached the famous high note she 
was justly proud of, Kelly clapped his hands to his 
stomach and yelled for mercy. 

"That s clawsick music," abjured Bill, who was sit- 


ting on the lawn with Mabelle. Kelly looked at them 
with sorrow. 

"I was skeered that she had busted her throat, and 
all the sound was comin out to onct," he complained. 

The last night of the brief but exciting visit Bill 
and Mabelle were quietly married. Quietly yes and 
no. Mike Hawkins rallied the band and all the tinware 
in town to celebrate. Mabelle was indignant at first, 
but soon began to enjoy the fun, and created the hap 
piest impression on the older generation of Bloomtown 
by insisting on marching arm in arm with Kelly Jones 
at the head of the procession. After Bill had given his 
solemn oath never to repeat the offense the "chivaree" 
broke up, with wild yells of congratulation. 

They took up residence in Mabelle s cottage. By 
consensus of opinion it was Mabelle s cottage. The 
town in fact so thoroughly recognized Mabelle, in the 
possessive case, that Jap cautioned Bill against the 
contingency of being referred to as "Mabelle s hus 
band." Bill was proud of his wife, and when fortune 
brought him lucre, from the long-forgotten bit of Texas 
land that suddenly showed oil, he began to improve the 
whole street by putting out trees. 

As Jap feelingly declared, Mabelle had even im 
proved the dirt under the doorstep of the cottage, and 
Bill was fairly pushed out on the street for improving 
to do. Under her fostering care, Bill had learned to 
make violent demands on the Town Board. And they, 


the aldermen of Bloomtown, bent on pursuing the even 
tenor of their way at any hazard, had to adjust them 
selves to a new ebullition from Bill every Tuesday 
night. But Bill and Mabelle were not doomed to see 
their enthusiasm go up in vapor. It bore, instead, the 
most substantial fruit. The barren, treeless town was 
beginning to grow shade for the aldermen to rest under 
in their old age. 

Kelly Jones said that if Jap had brought Mabelle 
with him, instead of waiting fourteen years to import 
her, the town would be larger than St. Louis. As it 
was, Bloomtown might yet run that city a swift race. 
Mabelle set the fashions ; told the School Board how 
to run the schools ; the preachers how to make their 
churches popular ; the mothers how to train their chil 
dren. And the Town Fathers all carried their hats 
in their hands when she breezed down the street. Jap 
and Isabel watched and smiled, serene in the happiness 
that was theirs. 

"How wonderful it is, Jap, dear," said Isabel, stand 
ing in the sunset glow, on that Easter Sunday, after 
the year had flown. The last red gleam touched the tip 
of the monument to Ellis Hinton, that had been erected 
by Bloomtown and dedicated that morning. Together 
they had gone to the cemetery, when the crowd would 
not be there, Isabel s arms full of garlands for the 
low green tents of their loved ones. 


"It seemed that Flossy must be smiling at you as 
you stood there, saying the marvelous things that must 
have come to you direct from the lips of your spirit 
father. Ellis Hinton spoke through you when you 
told the story of our town." 

Jap drew her tenderly to the fostering shadow of the 
monument and pressed her to his heart. Her face was 
glorified as she looked up into his. 

"Oh, Jap, what if Ellis had never lived!" 

Jap drew her close. Many hours had he wrought 
with his fear, but now the roses had come again to her 
cheeks and the light to her eyes. He looked over the 
City of Peace, and his own eyes were full with joy. 

"But, thank God, Ellis did live." And arm in arm 
they walked back to Ellis Hinton s real town. 

As they crossed the railroad tracks, Kelly Jones 
came ambling down from the station, where a large con 
tingent from the vicinity of the steel highway between 
Barton and Bloomtown waited for the evening "Accom 

"Gimmeny !" he exclaimed, clapping Jap on the 
shoulder, "I sure was proud of Ellis s boy to-day. 
Ellis says to me, the day he went away, says he, Watch 
my boy, Kelly. He is goin to put the electricity in 
Bloomtown s backbone, and, by jolly, you done it! 
I reckon you felt proud," he went on, turning to Isabel, 
"when Wat Harlow called Jap the man that made 
Bloomtown a real town, and the crowd yelled, Yes. 


Well, ma am, for a minute I shook and grunted. And 
then the wife said, Wait a bit, so I waited. And when 
Jap got up and told the folks that, not Jap Herron but 
a greater man than he ever hoped to be, had cradled 
and nussed Bloomtown and learnt her to walk, I might 
nigh split my guzzle yellin for joy. Did you hear 
me yellin , Hurrah for Ellis s boy ! And did you hear 
the crowd say it after me?" 

As Isabel took his hardened hand in hers, her eyes 

"Jap is Ellis," she said gently, "to you and to his 
town. I know it, and I am 


BILL sat doubled over the case, the stick held list 
lessly in his hand. Nervously he fingered the copy, not 
knowing what he was reading. From time to time he 
slid down from the stool and lounged across the big 
office to the street door. Vacantly he returned the 
greetings of his townsmen, as he gazed past them, 
across the corner of the little park that lay, brown 
and gold, in the glory of Indian Summer, across the 
intervening street where Tom Granger s sedate old 
house looked out on the leaf-strewn lawn. He could 
see Tom Granger, pacing up and down the walk. He 
could see Jap, sitting under the great elm, his face hid 
den in his hands. 

"Poor old Jap," Bill muttered, brushing aside a 
tear, as he returned once more to his case, "life has 
slammed him so many tough licks that he is always 
cringing, afraid of another lick." 

The morning wore on. Bill gave up the effort at 
type-setting and tried to apply himself to the ex 
changes, so that he could the better watch the front 
of that house. He was near the door, trying to read, 
when, all at once, Tom stopped pacing. Jap sprang 



up and bounded across the lawn and into the front 
door. A white-capped nurse ran through the wide hall, 
and in a little while Mabelle put her head out of an 
upper window and peered over at the office. Bill pushed 
his chair back and tramped heavily to the pavement. 
Then he tramped back again. 

"Certainly there are enough of them to let somebody 
come here with news," he growled. "They don t seem 
to know that there are telephones or that I would 

Half an hour dragged. Then, all alone, his face shin 
ing with holy joy, Jap hurried to the office. For a 
moment neither could speak. Hand in hand, heart beat 
ing with heart, they stood looking into each other s 
eyes. Then Jap said huskily: 

"Do you remember what Ellis said, that day when 
his greatest joy came?" 

Bill flung his arms around Jap and hugged him 

" Get out all the roosters ! " he cried, tears gushing 
from his brown eyes. 

"And," said Jap slowly, "Isabel wants to call him 
Jasper William." 


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